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Sep 17, 2022
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“Achilles’ heel”. F-35 production in jeopardy due to Chinese alloy

The production of the fifth-generation American fighter-bomber F-35 was threatened due to the discovery of a Chinese alloy in one of its components. A military expert writes about this Mario Samuel Camacho in an article for The National Interest.

Earlier, for the same reason, the Pentagon temporarily stopped deliveries to the army of new F-35 aircraft developed by Lockheed Martin Corporation. As explained by the US Department, the use of Chinese alloy violates federal defense procurement rules.

“This is a major blow to the F-35 program, which has faced significant challenges since its inception. The failure is likely to delay production at a time when more orders are coming in amid Russia’s special operation in Ukraine and the remilitarization of Europe.

The aircraft component is a magnet containing an alloy of cobalt and samarium, which is used as part of an integrated power supply. As the representative of the US Department of Defense assured Russ Homerit does not pose a security risk.

“We have confirmed that the magnet does not transmit information or damage aircraft integrity and there are no performance, quality, safety or risks associated with this issue and flights for the F-35 fleet in service will continue as normal.” “, he stressed.

At the same time, NI did not rule out that after checking all the suppliers on the fighter-bomber, they might find another Chinese-made component. This, according to the expert, will seriously affect the entire F-35 program and put its future in doubt.

“The stealth fighter consists of more than 300,000 parts from approximately 1,700 suppliers. Therefore, the verification of each component of the F-35 will be difficult and time consuming. Given the large-scale task ahead, it is difficult to say how much the production of the F-35 will be stopped, ”Camacho stated.

According to the expert, the mass violation of technological security concerns not only the United States, but also all of its NATO allies. Currently, the F-35 is in high demand in Australia, Israel, Japan, South Korea and the UK, which are waiting for the supply of this military equipment.

In addition, China is also competing with Washington in the development of fifth-generation aircraft, which can simply sabotage the production of an American bomber in the interests of its Chengdu J-20 stealth fighter. Given the arms race between countries, relying on Beijing’s “goodwill” appears to be a “serious obstacle” to the US project.

“The most pressing issue right now is determining how this Chinese component ended up in the most advanced aircraft operated by the United States today, and what steps can be taken to prevent it from happening in the future,” the analyst asked.

Camacho recalled that this is not the first problem with the F-35. In the past few years, the fighter has suffered from cost overruns and delays, as well as numerous design flaws. Not so long ago, the US military suspended aircraft flights due to problems with ejection seats.

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