Challenge of preventing Chinese components from being used in US military equipment

BEIJING: As Washington works to reduce its reliance on foreign manufacturers for its weapons, military affairs analysts say the discovery of an alloy made in China in America's most sophisticated warplane F-35, There is growing concern about cost and supply chain. ,

On September 7, the Pentagon announced that it had temporarily halted F-35 shipments after learning that a magneto, a critical Honeywell-made part of the aircraft's engine, was found in China to contain a rare cobalt and samarium. was. Made of alloy. This is not allowed under both US law and Pentagon regulations.

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Greg Ulmer, executive vice president of aeronautics at warplane maker Lockheed Martin, said in an interview with Defense News on Tuesday that the company continued to produce the F-35 while it awaits a waiver from the US Department of Defense. Delivery to start again. The Pentagon's top acquisition official, William LaPlante, previously said the waiver was "likely if there were no safety or security issues."

The banned sugar component has been found in the F-35 in the past as well. In 2012 and 2013, the Pentagon had to suspend regulations repeatedly to keep the war program on track. Chinese components were also found in other significant US weapons in 2014, including some Lockheed Martin F-16 fighters and Boeing B-1B bombers.

Air Force Chief of Staff General Charles Q. Brown Jr. expressed concern about the integrity of the military supply chain, noting that the F-35's Chinese-made engine components did not actually pose a safety hazard or engine performance. Didn't spoil it. ,

“We as a country – and all our allies and partners – are looking at supply chains,” he said on Tuesday, according to Defense News, adding that the issue was whether countries could get their constituents into conflict or distress. . will do

It is challenging for the US to manufacture weapons like the F-35 using exclusively domestic components, according to Fu Qianshao, a retired equipment specialist with the People's Liberation Army Air Force. According to him, locating a replacement component for the US would be costly and time-consuming.

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According to Fu, the US is in a difficult position because, by somehow criticizing China's incursions, it is actually trying to create problems for itself.

He claimed that since China had more supplies of rare earth elements and other metals at lower prices to the US, there was no option but to ask for a waiver to allow the resumption of deliveries.

Additionally, it serves as a reminder that by imposing export restrictions on such materials to the US, China may "mess up" the US, according to Fu.

According to a report published in March by the US Congressional Research Service, the US has recently placed greater emphasis on supply chain security for its military systems by reducing its reliance on parts, materials and software from other countries, particularly China and Russia. Have given. have given. ,

According to the report, the US military has recently taken steps to reduce its reliance on Chinese-made rare earth elements, electronic components made in China, software containing elements of Chinese or Russian origin, and drones and surveillance cameras. China.

Former US Navy Secretary Richard Spencer expressed concern in 2019 about a "fragile" US supply chain and stressed that the nation risks becoming dependent on China and Russia for warship parts.

In response, the US government, under both the Trump and Biden administrations, took action to review and reduce the US military's reliance on foreign constituents. According to a report by the US Department of Defense published in February, the effort to create a resilient, competitive and sustainable supply chain will take a long time.

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Former Chinese military instructor Song Zhongping claimed that the policies showed how the US was separating from China in many areas, but he also pointed out that using magnets made from rare earth materials sourced from China would protect US national security. Will be There is no danger.

Because of their low cost, the US relied on China for its rare earths, and according to Song, finding alternatives would increase the cost of manufacturing the weapons.

According to Song, "the US maintains the Cold War mentality of completely controlling China, that US military products should not contain Chinese symbols and elements."

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