388th F-35A

Chinese-owned company produces parts for F-35 Fifth Generation Fighters

By Dario Leone
Jun 22 2019
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The circuit boards control many of the F-35 Lightning II’s core capabilities, including its engines, lighting, fuel and navigation systems.

On Jun. 14, 2019 Sky News reported that a Chinese-owned company has been manufacturing key circuit boards for F-35 Lightning II fifth generation fighters flown by the U.K. and U.S.

Exception PCB, based in Gloucestershire, southwest England, which produces the parts was acquired in 2013 by its Chinese parent, Shenzhen Fastprint.

The circuit boards control many of the F-35’s core capabilities, including its engines, lighting, fuel and navigation systems, the Ministry of Defense (MoD) said in a press release.

However the MoD said Exception PCB is an established manufacturer and presents no risks to the fighter F-35’s supply chain.

“Exception PCB produces bare circuit boards, and as a result, there are no risks associated with their product in the F-35 aircraft supply chain,” said a spokesperson for the MoD.

F-35A print
This print is available in multiple sizes from AircraftProfilePrints.com – CLICK HERE TO GET YOURS. F-35A Lightning II 56th OG, 61st FS, LF/12-5050 / 2014

Concern that a Chinese-owned company is producing any parts for the F-35 program, because of long-standing fears about Chinese espionage and rivalry has been expressed by experts and former defense ministers.

“We have been completely and utterly naive about the role of China, and it is only now that people are beginning to wake up,” Sir Gerald Howarth, a former Conservative defense minister, told Sky News.

The stealth fighter jet is equipped with an array of highly classified technology that includes sensors and weapons systems. Nine countries form part of the multi-billion-pound Joint Strike Fighter program and companies within these countries produce certain parts of the fighter jet.

China has often been accused of trying to steal information on the secretive and highly sensitive program, which is headed by U.S. defense company Lockheed Martin.

Chinese-owned company produces parts for F-35 fifth generation fighters
This model is available from AirModels – CLICK HERE TO GET YOURS.

Photo credit: U.S. Air Force


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Dario Leone

Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

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