The next F-35 scandal - hilarious!

FLYBOYJ

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"In a release Wednesday, Lockheed Martin said a magnet in the F-35′s Honeywell-made turbomachine — an engine component that provides power to its engine-mounted starter/generator — was recently discovered to have been made with cobalt and samarium alloy that came from China

I know raw material acquisition is audited by the DoD. This either was approved or missed by a lot of people. IN any event the press will make a mountain out of an ant hill because it's the F-35!

 

ThomasP

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I do not understand why they (whoever the sub-contractor is) would purchase the alloy/magnet from China. The US produces far more Samarium than we use each year, and we get Cobalt from several sources - including Canada - as well as domestic production.
 

GrauGeist

Generalfeldmarschall zur Luftschiff Abteilung
LMAO - how about the THHN/AWG wire used in the ship's electronics?
Have they verified that the wire was mined, smelted, extruded and processed in North America?

How about the cadmium used for plating hardware, have they varified it's of North American origin?

Dumbasses are working overtime to make something of nothing.
 

ThomasP

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I am still trying to figure what they were trying to say with the "The magnet has no visibility or access to any sensitive program information."

All sorts of strange suppositions come to mind, but none of them are sane. Are the cobalt-samarium magnets sentient, and have inimical intent to transfer sensitive program information to China?
 

buffnut453

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The only thing I can think of is that it's not just a vanilla magnet but, rather, an electro-magnet with some form of circuitry, perhaps of Chinese origin? That would tally with fears of those circuits processing sensitive platform data.

I stress this is all supposition on my part.
 

buffnut453

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I guess the magnet contains spyware :p

If the magnet includes sensors that provide status to other parts of the F-35 platform, then it's entirely possible that it could contain malware of some form. Again, this is all hypothetical but I can't imagine that the F-35 PMO would take such drastic action if the magnet was just a lump of metal.
 

GrauGeist

Generalfeldmarschall zur Luftschiff Abteilung
This question gives away just how little I know about the F-35's engine, but just how much processing power can the engine's magnetic sensor possess?

On a modern vehicle engine, there are magnets used for such tasks as detecting the position of the camshaft, for example. The CPS' magnets then feed the position to the ECM (engine computer), which takes those signals and adjusts the timing of the ignition.

Other magnets calculate the vehicle's speed and so on, but all are just input signalling devices used by the computer to determine proper function.
 

buffnut453

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This question gives away just how little I know about the F-35's engine, but just how much processing power can the engine's magnetic sensor possess?

On a modern vehicle engine, there are magnets used for such tasks as detecting the position of the camshaft, for example. The CPS' magnets then feed the position to the ECM (engine computer), which takes those signals and adjusts the timing of the ignition.

Other magnets calculate the vehicle's speed and so on, but all are just input signalling devices used by the computer to determine proper function.

Yes, but if malware is introduced to those devices that can be remotely triggered, then it would create a world of hurt in a complex platform like the F-35. What would happen, for example, if the sensor feeds you highlight just stopped mid-flight?

The novel "Ghost Fleet" by P W Singer posits exactly the scenario of foreign-sourced electronics on F-35s carrying embedded "sleeper" malware that can be triggered remotely via a specific RF signal. It's improbable but not implausible.

It's exactly this sort of issue that's driving the focus on US DOD supply-chain evaluations to ensure that all relevant components are sourced from safe, trusted vendors and countries.
 

ThomasP

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Neither the device or the magnet in the device was made by China, but the Cobalt-Samarium alloy was processed in China. So basically the material used to make the magnet is of Chinese origin (same idea as if you bought Aluminum alloy or Tungsten-Carbide sintering powders from China and then made parts out of the processed material).
 
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GTX

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GTX

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This will turn out to be nothing more than a minor supply chain stuff up. I know for example some of the parts my organisation produces for the F-35 have specific restrictions on the sourcing of aluminium including to the point of saying that certain smelters are not to be used. I suspect similar here and someone stuffed up - especially if the material was purchased via another party which is quite often the case.
 

Thumpalumpacus

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Whether or not there's a direct threat to opsec, I can see not wanting defense-industry supply-chains to use Chinese sources unless absolutely necessary, simply because if tensions ratchet up -- as they are doing right now over Taiwan -- sourcing parts or materials may become more difficult.

It's a perfectly sensible outlook, to me.
 

GregP

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Just so we understand, if you, as a government vendor, sign up to domestic-source your products, then you have to do that or you stand to lose your contract and possibly your company. The government doesn't have a sense of humor when they audit. EVERYONE who has worked for a government supplier knows that, and the funny comments come from people without a stake in the company that sourced that magnet. I understand a civilian's attitude about it, but joking about it will get your company on the 100% audit list fairly quickly.

The intent is clear, and the sources should be transparent. I worked US Government weapon systems engineering for about 12 years of my career, and I was crystal clear about the regulations on sourcing even though I did not work in material procurement. My areas included missile fuzes, projectile fuzes, and explosive ordnance devices, including one-shot explosive actuators. We had to domestic-source everything unless we could show it wasn't available domestically. Those were RARE.
 

ww2restorer

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I remember a similar problem years ago, a USA aircraft manufacturer obtained Titanium tubing from Russia. My god the paranoia that followed, only to reveal the Russian tubing was superior. Just because it is not made in the USA, doesn't mean it is not of as good quality.
 

FLYBOYJ

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Just so we understand, if you, as a government vendor, sign up to domestic-source your products, then you have to do that or you stand to lose your contract and possibly your company. The government doesn't have a sense of humor when they audit. EVERYONE who has worked for a government supplier knows that, and the funny comments come from people without a stake in the company that sourced that magnet. I understand a civilian's attitude about it, but joking about it will get your company on the 100% audit list fairly quickly.

The intent is clear, and the sources should be transparent. I worked US Government weapon systems engineering for about 12 years of my career, and I was crystal clear about the regulations on sourcing even though I did not work in material procurement. My areas included missile fuzes, projectile fuzes, and explosive ordnance devices, including one-shot explosive actuators. We had to domestic-source everything unless we could show it wasn't available domestically. Those were RARE.
This debacle seems to be buried within a gizmo produced by Honeywell. Why do I have a feeling this had roots in a COTS procurement?
 

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