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HK [email protected]  00:37:16 GMT - 03/12/2014  


WASHINGTON (Reuters) - After discovering China-made components in the F-35 fighter jet, a Pentagon investigation has uncovered Chinese materials in other major U.S. weaponry, including Boeing Coís B-1B bomber and certain Lockheed Martin Corp F-16 fighters, the U.S. Defense Department said.

Titanium mined in China may also have been used to build part of a new Standard Missile-3 IIA being developed jointly by Raytheon Co and Japan, said a senior U.S. defense official, who said the incidents raised fresh concerns about lax controls by U.S. contractors.

U.S. law bans weapons makers from using raw materials from China and a number of other countries, amid concerns that reliance on foreign suppliers could leave the U.S. military vulnerable in some future conflict.

The Pentagon investigated the incidents in 2012 and 2013, and granted the waivers after concluding the non-compliant materials posed no risk, Defense Department spokeswoman Maureen Schumann told Reuters.

Frank Kendall, the Pentagonís chief arms buyer, issued five such waivers after a change in U.S. law in 2009 expanded the restrictions on specialty metals to include high-performance magnets, Schumann said. The change affected a radar system built by Northrop Grumman Corp for the F-35, which uses a number of such magnets.

Reuters reported in January that the Pentagon permitted Lockheed to use Chinese magnets to keep the $392 billion F-35 program on track, even as U.S. officials were voicing concern about Chinaís espionage and military buildup.

The other, previously undisclosed waivers covered the B-1 bomber, F-16 fighter jets for Egypt equipped with a specific radar system, and the SM-3 IIA missile, Schumann said in response to a query from Reuters.

The U.S. Government Accountability Office is expected to brief Congress in April on its comprehensive audit of the issue of Chinese specialty metals on U.S. weapons systems.






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