Scourge of the Red Magnets

Pentagon probes into components used in major US weapons systems uncovered Chinese materials used on some F-16 and B-1B aircraft—notably in radar systems, Reuters reported. The Defense Department issued waivers to allow Northrop Grumman to temporarily use Chinese sourced rare-earth metals in magnets used on the F-35 Lightning II’s active electronically scanned array radar to keep the fighter’s production on track, according to the press report. DOD also granted similar waivers for the B-1B, export F-16s, and SM-3 IIA missiles, a Pentagon spokesperson told Reuters. A 2012 Senate Armed Services Committee inquest uncovered a pandemic of counterfeit Chinese electronic parts in everything from remotely piloted aircraft to airlifters. The Government Accountability Office is currently investigating the issue of Chinese specialty metals cropping up in US weapons and plans to present its findings to Congress in April, reported Reuters.