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U.S. Waived Laws To Keep F-35 On Track With China-made Parts 348

Posted by Soulskill
from the boondoggle-that-won't-die dept.
An anonymous reader sends this report from Reuters: "The Pentagon repeatedly waived laws banning Chinese-built components on U.S. weapons in order to keep the $392 billion Lockheed Martin Corp F-35 fighter program on track in 2012 and 2013, even as U.S. officials were voicing concern about China's espionage and military buildup. According to Pentagon documents reviewed by Reuters, chief U.S. arms buyer Frank Kendall allowed two F-35 suppliers, Northrop Grumman Corp and Honeywell International Inc, to use Chinese magnets for the new warplane's radar system, landing gears and other hardware. Without the waivers, both companies could have faced sanctions for violating federal law and the F-35 program could have faced further delays."
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U.S. Waived Laws To Keep F-35 On Track With China-made Parts

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  • by TheGratefulNet (143330) on Saturday January 04, 2014 @12:28PM (#45865483)

    I build electronic things and I have yet to see a single transistor or other part with a 'made in usa' designation.

    go to the usual supply houses and find some for me, ok? mouser, digikey, newark, jameco, etc. go browse for common parts like resistors, chips, caps, diodes, etc. find me any significant amount of those common yet important parts that are made here.

    some of you are quoting wiki, but having been in the electronics industry for several decades, I have yet to see any modern parts (other than specialized stuff) being made here at the component level.

    go and prove me wrong. but I'd need to see more than 'wiki' to believe it. every part I have used that I bought from a distributor is made overseas. 100% of them. and I've been doing this for a long, long time - longer than many of you have been alive.

    I do try to find US made parts but I have to go to a surplus store and buy stuff from the 50's and 60's to find 'new old stock'. anything from the 80's onward (roughly) is outsourced. everyone knows it, too, who is in the industry.

  • by Antique Geekmeister (740220) on Saturday January 04, 2014 @12:30PM (#45865499)

    F-35's are not for "major wars". It's bleeding edge, horribly expensive multi-role aircraft that does none of the roles well. The ill-founded claims by its manufacturers that it is "eight times more effective in air-to-ground combat" is pointless since it is almost 10 times as expensive to build and operate as a more specifically ground combat focused aircraft. The "build a core design and bolt on different components for different roles" has led to a variety of tragic design flaws that have been incredibly expensive to address for all its different variations. It's also a complete maintenance nightmare: the redesigns needed to reduce the weight, after it was enlarged to hold more weapons and provide larger engines, has led to customized parts that no one else uses, on the very edge of the strength/weight tradeoff to keep the weight down. So they fail, frequently, and are very expensive to replace. When confronted with various design flaws, such as the extremely por cockpit visibility leading to trivial destruction by cheaper aircraft in combat, Boing's suggestion that "that pilots worried about being shot down should fly cargo aircraft instead"

    There is no chance that this aircraft will have the reliability and longevity of many existing models of current US aircraft, which means incredible ongoing costs in repairing and replacing expensive aircraft that can never be used at their full capabilities_. They are displacing budgets for manpower (needed for ground warfare and holding territory, as seen in Iraq and Afghanistan), supply craft (for keeping troops and warcraft supplied), base maintenance (to train and equip men and machines), and drones (which are far cheaper and more effective than modern aircraft at targeteed strikes). The best thing that could happen for the US milatary with this aircraft is to pull the plug on it _now_, throw 1/3 of money into a rebuild and oversupply of more conventional aircraft, use 1/3 the budget to build newer, more specifically suited aircraft for each military branch instead of a Swiss Army Aircraft, and use the remaining 1/3 for manpower support. America is short on the ground troops and personnel to run the several occupying wars we're in the midst of.

  • by Immerman (2627577) on Saturday January 04, 2014 @12:31PM (#45865505)

    Right. If only we'd allow you to pay an even more miniscule tax rate, use slave labor, and dump your toxic waste into the public water supply you could be more competitive. Forgive me if I'm not sympathetic.

    A proper response would be not to weaken local regulations, but to impose tariffs on imported goods manufactured in conditions exploiting such socialized costs. Of course that would likely start a trade war with China, which we can ill afford. So perhaps we should encourage public shaming of domestic companies that import products with such an unfair advantage?

  • by TheGratefulNet (143330) on Saturday January 04, 2014 @12:33PM (#45865511)

    "many of which"

    but not the majority.

    and besides, this is about higher end chips.

    you don't have common parts (the non-semi conductors like caps and resistors) made here. its not economical and its not specialized, generally, so its NEVER done here other than for rare circumstances (some high end audio parts might be made here but on a very tiny production scale and not for common use).

    the wiki article is not the full truth. some higher end chips are made here but that's NOT what the issue is about. you can't build entire systems from US based parts anymore. it simply can't be done. most of your parts (usually all) are not US made. and your pc board is not just one single high-end chip.

    and while you can get pcb's made in the US, its rarely done, as well. all the big players send out for their pcb's to be made.

    assembly is mostly done overseas, too.

    and now, even design is done there.

    over time, we have a tiny percent left in terms of design and build.

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