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U.S. Military Planes Have Parts Made in China

Written By: Christine Dantz

Most Americans don't even think twice anymore about products labeled "Made in China," since nearly everything they purchase includes something made overseas. However, no American wants to see that label on U.S. military aircrafts. So how did Chinese parts end up in B-1 Bombers and F-16 Fighters?

The Investigation that Left Egg on America's Face

In case you were wondering, it is a violation of the law to use Chinese parts and raw material in U.S. military weapons. Besides the obvious economic and patriotic reasons, it isn't a good military strategy to rely on a potential enemy for weapons.

In this case, the military gave a waiver to Lockheed Martin, a top weapons manufacturer. The waiver gave the company permission to use components from China in the B-1 Bombers and F-16 Fighters. Instead of closing an unnecessary international military base or scaling back on million-dollar missile production, the military felt this was the best way to save money.

Wait a minute, but in a way, didn't they did scale back on missiles? According to the report, there were Chinese parts found in the SM-3 IIA missile. Apparently, no one got the memo that this wasn't a good idea. The potential for espionage and the danger to U.S. troops didn't fit the $392 billion scheduled.

In their defense, the Department of Defense (DOD) explained the parts weren't critical components and the Chinese manufacturers did not have access to any information on the components made. Officials could correct the "problem," but it would cost over $10 million. The price tag on a fix that isn't critical simply doesn't compute during a time when the department is under scrutiny to reduce spending.

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