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Chinese Property Firm Manufactures Parts for Next-Generation F-35 Jets, UK Admits

BEIJING – In the middle of an ongoing row between Huawei and the US, Evolving around the accusations of Washington that the Chinese technological giant represents a threat to security due to its links with Beijing, it turns out that a subsidiary of a Chinese company based in the United Kingdom (UK) is part of the chain of supply of Lockheed Martin fighters, flown by the Americans and their allies, Sputnik reported.
Exception PCB, based in England (which means printed circuit boards), whose parent company is Shenzhen Fastprint of China, produces circuit boards for the F-35 fighter of the next generation of US and United Kingdom, reports British broadcaster Sky, citing publicity material from the United Kingdom Ministry of Defense (MoD).
Among other things, its Action Plan for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) of the March publication specifically mentioned that Exception PCB is part of the supply chain of the F-35.
“The Exception based PCB in Gloucestershire manufactures the circuit boards that control many of the F-35’s core capabilities,” the document reads.
Another publication is a news article, which goes back to last November and praised the F-35 credentials of the Chinese-owned company. He said his employees “made the circuit boards that control many of the F-35’s core capabilities, including its engines, lighting, fuel and navigation systems.”
However, as the report says, the relationship of the company with the company based in China was not mentioned. Shenzhen Fastprint bought the British company in 2013. Interestingly, Exception PCB not only participates in the supply chain of the F-35, but also in the manufacture of the Eurofighter Typhoon, the Lockheed Martin F-16 and the Apache attack helicopter. It is also a third tier supplier for the F-35 as the plates arrive on the plane through GE Aviation.
According to the company’s director, Mike Devine, Exception PCB manufactures “naked circuit boards in the UK alone for all of our aerospace and defense companies,” and has partnered with GE Aviation for decades. He insisted that they did everything possible to ensure that no Chinese citizen could access the F-35 data.
“All the data is protected in an independent internal server and access to the data is protected by passwords, which can only be accessed by a select few, of which they have been audited by GE,” he told Sky.
The Ministry of Defense denied that there were risks related to Chinese ownership of the company.
“The PCB exception produces bare circuit boards and, as a result, there are no risks associated with your product in the supply chain of the F-35 aircraft,” the ministry spokesman was quoted as saying by Sky.
For its part, Lockheed Martin has indicated that there are still risks, although “all the components in the F-35 are inspected repeatedly at each stage of manufacture”.
“Exception PCB has no visibility or access to any confidential program information and no risk associated with its minimal function in the program is limited. If it is determined that the PCB Exception is a source not approved in the future, GE Aviation has alternative sources of supply that would guarantee that the program has no impact, “said his representative to the station.
(Sahar News Monitoring Desk)

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