Did Chinese Espionage Lead to F-35 Delays?

Did Chinese cyber spying cause the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter’s cost spikes and production delays? That’s the question Pentagon budget officials are asking according to Aviation Week.

Chinese spies apparently hacked into secure conference calls and listened to meetings discussing the classified technologies aboard the jets. In particular, China may have stolen info about the F-35’s secure communications and antenna systems; leading to costly software rewrites and other redesigns to compromised parts of the plane.

The worst part, this problem isn’t just limited to the F-35, though the program’s size and the fact that it’s information systems were apparently designed without any concern for cyber espionage made it an easy target.

Anyone who has been following U.S.-China military relations and cyber warfare knows that China has been hacking into the networks of U.S. defense contractors and the Pentagon and rolling out brand new weapons like the J-20 stealth fighter.

Here’s the latest from Av Week:

Before the intrusions were discovered nearly three years ago, Chinese hackers actually sat in on what were supposed to have been secure, online program-progress conferences, the officials say.

The full extent of the connection is still being assessed, but there is consensus that escalating costs, reduced annual purchases and production stretch-outs are a reflection to some degree of the need for redesign of critical equipment. Examples include specialized communications and antenna arrays for stealth aircraft, as well as significant rewriting of software to protect systems vulnerable to hacking.

It is only recently that U.S. officials have started talking openly about how data losses are driving up the cost of military programs and creating operational vulnerabilities, although claims of a large impact on the Lockheed Martin JSF are drawing mixed responses from senior leaders. All the same, no one is saying there has been no impact.

While claiming ignorance of details about effects on the stealth strike aircraft program, James Clapper, director of national intelligence, says that Internet technology has “led to egregious pilfering of intellectual capital and property. The F-35 was clearly a target,” he confirms. “Clearly the attacks . . . whether from individuals or nation-states are a serious challenge and we need to do something about it.”

The F-35 issue was ducked as well by David Shedd, deputy director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, but not the impact of cybertheft on defense spending and operational security.

“I am not going to talk about the F-35, Shedd says. “I’d be sitting with the secretary having a counseling session. The answer is absolutely yes. The leaks have hurt our efforts in that it gives the adversary an advantage in having insights into what we’re doing. It should be clear that whether there are leaks on the technology side or that affect preemptive decision-making, they are very damaging to the intelligence community.”

Those closer to the program are less equivocal about the damage that cyberintrusions are causing the JSF program.

“You are on to something,” says a veteran combat pilot with insight into both the F-35 and the intelligence communities “There are both operational and schedule problems with the program related to the cyber data thefts. In addition, there are the costs of redressing weaknesses in the original system design and lots of software fixes.”

Here’s the kicker, the JSF’s info systems weren’t built with cyber espionage in mind, this led to a bunch of subcontractors networks being ‘totally compromised.” Shocking considering the plane was meant for the 21st Century. C’mon guys.

Defense analysts note that the JSF’s information system was not designed with cyberespionage, now called advanced persistent threat, in mind. Lockheed Martin officials now admit that subcontractors (6-8 in 2009 alone, according to company officials) were hacked and “totally compromised.” In fact, the stealth fighter program probably has the biggest “attack surface” or points that can be attacked owing to the vast number of international subcontractors.

There also is the issue of unintended consequences. The 2009 hacking was apparently not aimed at the F-35 but rather at a classified program. However, those accidental results were spectacular. Not only could intruders extract data, but they became invisible witnesses to online meetings and technical discussions, say veteran U.S. aerospace industry analysts. After the break-in was discovered, the classified program was halted and not restarted until a completely new, costly and cumbersome security system was in place.

  • blight

    If the Soviets had lasted into the modern age, the KGB would be rolling on the floor laughing their asses off.

    We’ve leaked like sieves before. But has it delayed our procurement by this much before?

  • William C.

    The government and DoD does a lot of talking about cyber security but I don’t see much being done in the way of actual effort. This is absolutely unacceptable.

    • The_Hand

      The DOD actually has finally gotten started on the problem. There is a movement underway to eliminate the sprawl where every platoon has its own independent IT department, and start centralizing IT services in larger data centers with cross-domain security and other hardening. That will greatly reduce the attack surface of the DOD cyber infrastructure in general.

      Similarly, the F-35 itself is running a secure separation kernel that at worst would limit any cyber intrusion to the one component that was compromised.

      Unfortunately, none of that includes the contractors who are actually doing the development. That’s the weak link–Lockheed and the zillions of subcontractors all doing classified work behind whatever toy firewalls they happen to have, if indeed they have firewalls.

      • TMB

        That’s the problem here. The DoD’s classified network wasn’t breached, but the contractor’s was.

  • Strider

    I’m beginning to think this truly is the age of transparency.

    You’ll get it no matter what one way or another.

  • LtKitty

    Really?…. I’d like to think our defense industry isn’t so outrageously silly from time to time…

  • Nick T.

    It would better for security if you just build a separate “internet” not connected to the main web, but a separate series of computers and servers only on their own network, and only linked to major bases, contractors, etc. Problem is building that in this economic environment.

    • Greg

      The network you’re talking about is basically what stuxnet got into.

      • tttuttu

        But stuxnet coud not really spy the programm it was designed to sabotage the ractor by manipulating the software

        • DhuntAUS

          I would think a network like that already existed, i mean schools and universities have them.

          • Hawkeye

            They have one in Iowa, ICN (Iowa Communications Network), built exclusively for the school system. This was done ~15 years ago. Only way in is to have access to a computer on that network, having said that, I’ve heard that ‘security’ has been relaxed to an extent, but it has been reality for some time and done only within one states budget. Not saying it would be cheap, for the DOD, but it’s at least feasible.

    • STemplar

      The problem is that defense contractors don’t put programs together with information security in mind. If they did an entire program would be developed, designed, tested, and built in the same campus. The problem with that is you’d only have the ear of one House representative and one Senator. So instead they take a boondoggle like the F35 and spread it out over almost all 50 states so they can leverage more political clout to prevent sanity from intruding on its lousy track record.

    • pedestrian

      What you are describing is called the milnet, later Defense Data Network, and today NIPRNet.

  • Skyepapa

    Is it possible that part of our counter-espionage tactics include overstating the damage of an intrusion like this? Let them listen to conversation A so they don’t drill down farther to something we really don’t want them hearing? Then rant about how the Chinese hacked an important meeting? Wish I could believe we were that buttoned up.

    • blight

      Not Lockheed. I wouldn’t put it past the CIA though.

  • Bill

    Sometimes the “Stone Age” is not that bad.

    As far as cyber security is concerned, there is no barrier that people can’t find their way around. You need to think about the physical means in which your data is being transferred in order to stop data theft.

    Serial connections are the only feasible means of doing this – Connect PC “A” with PC “B” and not anywhere else – No internet, No outside connection, no Wi-Fi… you would actually need to physically commit theft.

    • BigRick

      your right Bill, being a network guy myself, it really makes you wonder why EVERYTHING needs to be connected to the Internet, Firewalls are only speed bumps.

      All sensitive info should be kept in a completely isolated network from the corporate network i.e. you have to be there physically to access the data

      • blight

        Go intranet.

        Then again, once people decide they want to be able to stream important data between points in real time, they’re just leaving the door open.

        • Dfens

          Classified data is stored on isolated networks. On the down side, a lot of the critical data such as CAD data is stored on networked drives.

    • pedestrian

      Yes, while I promote stand alone environment, some idiot is trying to promote a network dependent cloud computing. DoD should flush military variation down the toilet and forget about it.

  • Dfens

    Yeah, it’s the Chinese that are causing F-35 development to crawl along at a snail’s pace. It certainly is not the fact that we pay the defense contractor a profit incentive to drag out development. No, it is clearly China’s fault. Right. We have found the enemy, and it is us.

    • Cranky Observer

      Nothing to do with the cost-plus contract. Nothing to see here people; move along. Still asking questions sir? We know how to handle people like you.

      Cranky

    • passingby

      Excellent rebuttal. Completely agree.

      It’s a pretty smart move to blame China – US defense contractors can divert public attention on their greed and incompetence, while creating excuses to get more funding from the government.

      • Dfens

        Next thing you know they’ll come up with a fantastically complex PowerPoint chart — too complex for any mere taxpayer to understand — showing conclusively it is all someone else’s fault. It’s China’s fault, it’s the fault of the Air Force’s own procurement people, it’s middle management’s fault, it’s Congress’ fault, it’s a vast conspiracy by the crooked defense contractor’s thieving employees. It’s always someone without a name, because someone with a name might fight back. Then after considerable hand wringing and staring at the sky, nothing ever changes. Another year goes by and all the defense contractor CEO’s pocket their millions and proudly show their stock holders how their lack of conscience has produced record profits even as the real value of their companies has gone to zero, and nothing ever changes. Our bravest young men are killed using weapons that are optimized on the greatest possible cost for the least possible performance and we curse the brave dead because clearly it couldn’t be the fault of the weapon they were put in harm’s way to serve, and nothing ever changes.

  • crazy

    Never would have happened in the Kelly Johnson days.

    • blight

      Kelly kept everything in-house and the only outsiders plugged in were guys like Dick Bissell. However, this mode of business is long dead, and everything is teleconferences, audits and interconnectedness of data and ease of download (versus sending crates of paperwork). Any espionage group can simply scoop up everything they can get their hands on and sort it out later: in the old days, espionage depended on being able to quickly decide what was worth stealing and grabbing it. Kelly’s practice was to avoid excessive classification so that interesting things would hide in background clutter and someone going for the highest classified items would probably not find anything of interest design-wise.

  • John Moore

    I run four servers and I constantly see Hong Kong IP’s trying to get in.

    • blight

      In an age of zombienets, it’s hard to say where attacks are coming from anymore. Maybe Hong Kongers are just as bad as Americans when it comes to computer security?

    • pedestrian

      I was harassed by some IP addresses leadeing to China weeks ago, and I port scanned them back as a warning, and they came back port scanning with mini-DoS from several more IP addresses. If the government ever gave permission, I would be trigger happy to wipe their computers off the network.

      • ernoz

        It’s easier to get pardon then permission

    • passingby

      The US is still the largest cyber security threat in the world. Many of reported cyber attacks may very well have been done by CIA/MI6/Mossad operatives via poorly guarded networks in China/Hong Kong/Korea etc.

      The US has been a leader in false flag operations after Britain’s decline.

  • wmcritter

    How many acts of war must China commit against us before we do something about it?

  • RCDC

    Possible. Now we need to reboot the price to $ 1.

  • I think they’re releasing this info to make us feel more “protected” when they cram SOPA type law down our throats.

  • RCDC

    Just don’t hook the server to the internet. Use firewall, secured router and secured satellite cable from IBM.

    • blight

      satellite cable…?

      • Josh

        Yeah blight, it goes all the way up into space, super high tech!

        • blight

          Tethered to the space elevator where we drop our tungsten death rods

      • RCDC

        Its IBM century old tech. Saudi Arabia or one uses IBM tech using Satellite networking with UNIX as there operating software, used on their servers and networking. I work in that part of the world in the 90’s.

      • RCDC

        Its IBM century old tech. Saudi Arabia for one uses IBM tech using Satellite networking with UNIX as there operating software, used on their servers and networking. I work in that part of the world in the 90’s.

  • BB5

    Time to pull the plug on these contractors and subcontractors. None of them should have internet access anywhere. No such thing as secure internet. Also time to fine the hell out that taxpayer leech LM for being cheap, incompetent and lazy.

  • Would it be so hard to keep everything offline?
    Whats wrong with Snail mail?
    Is flying so expensive they cannot get together?
    Granted, this would slow things down, but it would also make the aircraft not an open book…..

    • passingby

      Yes, it’s pretty hard to keep everything offline in a collaborative project like the F-35.

      What’s wrong with Snail mail? It’s too slow and insecure.

      Yes, it’s too expensive to be flying back and forth for meetings.

      No, it would slow things down and still make it an open book. Money can buy anything.

  • John Moore

    Whats wrong with Snail mail?

    Kinda saiz it all right there imagine the delays with snail mail.

    • Skyepapa

      And we wouldn’t want any delays with the JSF program.

    • Nathan

      What’s wrong with Snail mail?

      It’s no more secure than e-mail for a start.

  • Tad

    If the DoD is so serious about cyber security, why do they run almost solely Windows, Outlook, etc…?

    • blight

      It’s not like Mac or Linux is inherently safer, especially when a nation-state puts its mind to discovering exploits and backdoors to penetrate your systems.

    • Belesari

      The reasons Linux and Mac dont have as big of a record of hacking is logical and obvious. Most things run on windows. So most hacks are to windows.

      This also means that Linux and Mac’s arent as evolved to emphasis security. So in the end faced with a similar more determined hacker could actually be easier to get into.

    • pedestrian

      You are not authorized to know that answer.

    • Ryan

      Microsoft operating systems are the only ones where you can truly centrally control settings, security and auditing. If you deploy linux or Mac then you are usually in the dark as an admin and have very little idea if those systems comply with your security policies. Don’t assume Windows is to blame. The attacks could have different vectors. They could be through the Cisco gear that was manufactured in China where they installed their own back door before shipment. They could have attacked an Apache server running an older revision, or a Windows or Mac end user system. Everything has holes. Opening the systems up to the internet is the real problem. Allowing stuff manufactured in China into our networks is the other problem.

      They have us by the balls, you just don’t know it.

  • Lance

    While yes the Chinese could be trying to hack into US aircraft makers databases I doubt all could but related to the many delays in this troubled planes development. A big problem is that this is a international program so some allied nations have access to materials and lacks security to keep them confidential.

    Overall the J-20 was based on Russian technology NOT American a F-35 is still ahead of a J-20 by light years.

    • So?

      What Russian plane did the J-20 canopy and intakes come from?

      • Lance

        Alot of its technology came from the Russian MiG 1.44 ATF which was cancelled. With both Sukhoi and Mikoyan working on TA-50 and other new projects and the Russians not really wanting to give China latest technology the older MiG project was given to Chinese aviation experts. China also had information from the F-117A shot down over Serbia in 99. But they lack latest technology from the F-22 F-35 or TA-50.

      • Chimp

        Speaking as someone who generally doesn’t regard the PLA as a threat…

        The DSI intakes were from the F-35 programme. The WS-10 is based on US engine technology, at least in part. The list goes on…

        Some of it was transferred by US companies, and some from Israel. A fair bit was supplied by friendly neighbours (hello, Pakistan).

        A certain amount is as the result of espionage. I suspect mostly the old fashioned, personal style, with a modicum of network based stuff.

        The PRC develops its own stuff, and buys, borrows or steals where appropriate. Much like everyone else.

    • Willard

      No it’s not. Russian tech is crap now . Exploding rockets. No one wants that.

  • blight

    That said, it is possible that attempted theft by the PRC and causing these types of delays could be their mission in the first place. Hard to say that they aren’t winning the longer JSF is delayed.

    If they wanted immediate deliverables, hack P&W and GE and grab engine designs, then prioritize reproducing next-gen American engines. Why sleep at night?

  • Ben

    We SERIOUSLY need to retaliate for Chinese espionage and cyberattacks. This kind of behavior cannot go on tolerated like this. The United States NEEDS to respond with economic penalties, cyber-retaliation of its own, and other punitive measures.

    • Blur

      Like the US doesn’t spy?

    • TMB

      Ben, for all you know we’re already doing it. We’re certainly not going to advertise if we’re conducting cyber attacks on someone.

  • Greg Latiak

    Nothing connected to the Internet can ever be secure. We need to stop deluding ourselves that we are so clever that we can keep other, equally clever, people from hacking into our stuff. Nothing is more secure than NO CONNECTION (except maybe powered off…). When will these dweebs figure this out? We are not that smart, despite what we tell ourselves…

  • Black Owl

    Wow… and thought the F-35 design itself was a problem. This takes things to a whole new level. Our security is seriously fucked up right now. However, I still believe it’s true that we are getting more information on the Chinese than they are on us. The question is who is really benefiting from the espionage? We certainly have a lot more to steal in the area of advanced technology. I doubt we can acquire anything new from the Chinese as they exist now.

  • TH1

    How about this:

    You steal our stuff, we stop all business with you…

    and and by the way, you can forget about getting your loan to taxpayers paid back.. consider the money you borrowed the US a DOWNPAYMENT on the secret stuff you stole!

    • Juuso

      And who would loan money to USA after trick like that? None.

      • TH1

        EXACTLY !!! NONE! And maybe finally this country will WAKE UP and live within its means, cut its crazy out of control spending and get its act together… exactly the point!!!

        • blight

          If we lived within our means, we’d probably have very little. Welfare isn’t cheap. SS/Medicare/Tricare isn’t cheap.

          Considering we can’t even consider the tiniest of cuts to the SS juggernaut without the AARP crushing someone, living within our means isn’t an option.

          Even if we lowered personal taxes and corporate taxes, it will never again be cheaper to make consumer goods in the United States. The expensive, high-tech low-human labor goods might continue to be made here, but the unemployment will go up and the politicos will see this as an opportunity every election year to attack the incumbents.

          • DanS

            There was a recent article about Apple and their iPhone production in China. Sure they employ tens of thousands of unskilled laborers, which in “theory” could be replicated in the States. However they also employ over 5000 electrical and mechanical engineers as supervisors. It would take upwards of 9 months to hire that many in the States. It took them 15 days to fill the positions in China. Its scale people, when you have lots of assets to throw at a problem, you can get it fixed. We don’t have the people to fill all the jobs, period, end of story. The economy is shifting, so be agile, successful and happy! Or bitch and moan.

            Didn’t you people see Sneakers? No secrets folks, no secrets.

          • RTFA

            DanS – Per that article, the “engineers” were Industrial Engineers, and they lacked college degrees, so not really “engineers” in the sense we use the word here.

            It said that China’s advantage in large-scale manufacturing was *not* cheap labor, but a concentration of resources: Suppliers, workers, “engineers”, finance, etc. They are close to Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan, where many suppliers are located. With so much manufacturing concentrated in one area (the Pearl River Delta), it simply has better resources for the job. There is no place in the U.S. like it, at any price.

    • javanaut

      I’ve heard they owe the US $1 billion in bonds from before the communists took over. Of course, lying is communist truth if it furthers communism, theft is communist honesty etc. So Chinese leaders conveniently ignore that old debt.
      Don’t know if there’s any truth to this …

  • Kooch

    Its time to take the kiddie gloves off when dealing with China

    • JRL

      The USG would have to ask Walmart for permission first.

      And BTW, isn’t that where you got those fancy ‘made in Shanghai’ “kiddie” gloves in the first place?

      • M167A1

        Also a salient point,
        I tend to get lathered up at left wing stupidity but there is plenty of mutual stupidity going around these days. “engaging” the Chicoms was popular on both sides of our domestic political aisle.

    • passingby

      The US tried it twice – in the Korean War and the Vietnam, when China was still struggling economically and technologically following WWII and a Civil War.

      The US barely fought to a tie in Korea, and utterly lost in Vietnam and got kicked out.

      China now owns a big chunk of US govt debt, has a bigger industrial base as well as larger financial and human resources. You think the US can fare better than it did in Vietnam?????

      • STemplar

        My only real question is this, are you someone who has been banned previously or a completely new persona on your way to banning? I generally can spot them in their personal attacks on particular people. Oblat was easiest last time when he couldn’t resist going for William he totally outted himself.

  • JRL

    If they’re smart, the powers that be are only pretending to keep the almighty JSF tech secret. Because with any luck, the ChiComs will get sucked into swallowing it whole, and then destroy THEIR OWN air force and military budget by trying to copy the three-way cluster**** called the F-35.

    Once that’s dopne, the DoD can finally reveal that its real name is not ‘Lightning II, but ‘Trojan Horse II”…

    • Dfens

      Perhaps since it renders impotent any country who relies on it, the name should be shortened to simply “Trojan II”?

    • passingby

      totally agree. Even some US engineers call both the F-22 and F-35 expensive junks.

    • passingby

      I’d like to add that it’s been my belief that the US had employed a similar strategy in the past – the Apollo project – fake manned moon landings. It will be interesting to see if the US has actually spent hundreds of billions on F-22 and F-35, or redirected the funds to some secret projects.

      Right now neither the F-22 nor the F-35 can fight a real air war. But then neither Russia nor China seem to have fielded any high-end fighter jets or bombers in any significant numbers.

      The real drama, in my opinion, is going to be a grand-scale economic warfare centered on the US dollar.

      • Dfens

        It would be nice if that were true, but sadly neither of your conspiracy theories are correct. The reality is, we wasted nearly 3 decades developing the F-22 only to build 180, we will waste another 3 decades, if not more, developing the F-35, and the failure that is NASA has not been able to repeat the success of the Apollo program in 4 decades. Now the only thing NASA pioneers is the use of the “cost plus award fee” contract. They are the ones who started it all.

        • passingby

          The problem with the F-22 isn’t that fewer than 200 have been built. It’s that the plane can’t do what it’s purported to be able to do. Those 180+ Raptors aren’t even fully flight-worthy.

          Similar problem with the F-35. It’s hard to fathom that after 3 decades and hundreds of billions, the US is nowhere close to fielding a competent successor to the legacy teen-series jets.

          Equally hard to fathom is that NASA managed to land a man on the moon in just 8 years starting from scratch but somehow can’t reproduce the rocket used in the Apollo project for the Space Shuttle program – starting from scratch again to produce a vehicle with inferior lifting power but costing several times more???

          That on top of a wide selection of provably faked photos and videos, along with some leaked internal documentaries, no wonder so many engineers around the world have rejected NASA’s manned lunar landing claims.

  • Kski

    Thank god this ani’t the Cold War with our pal Ivan. But this is a new kind of Cold War with the PRC. They coutinually pull crap like this year in and year out. Honestly I hope we are getting more from the PRC than they are from us. But ending buissness with the PRC is not a great idea. They’ll be able to weather the economic backlash better than we the USA will. For the time being lets wait till they do something really stupid. Like being coaught selling Iran missiles. Or becoming more aggressive in the South China Sea, as in firing on someone allied with us. So in the end our options aren’t at all open. So for now, FEAR THE REDS!

  • lazrtx

    China doesn’t need to hack into anything. With dems running the show all they have to do is name their price and it will be handed to them.

  • Jeff

    Oh come on, this smacks of desperation, grasping at the last flimsy straw of spurious excuses to justify a monumental fuckup. FAIL.

  • FtD

    so your wife’s taking a bath and not closed the windows and your neighbor’s enjoying the show so you gonna grab your double barrel and shoot him? act of war lol…..

  • mpower6428

    is anybody getting the distinct impression that the metric of future world dominence won’t be how many missiles or tanks, or how large a GDP or industrial base is but… how many “girls with dragon tatooes” a country can educate and support…?

    • blight

      GDP and industry still count. Even if North Korea had a large cyberhacking corps, it couldn’t do anything for millions of starving peoiple; except maybe hacker blackmail.

  • HWJ

    The rule of thumb:
    If you don’t know who to blame, blame China.

  • Jon

    This is the dumbest story ever. Lets build a shitty plane and blame it on the Chinese. Brilliant.

  • Rob

    Chinese have already won the war. Entire areas of mostly Chinese in every major town globally. They say even, Canada, will someday soon have a Chinese majority.

    They will never war us simply for that fact. They just prepare for if Korea kicks off & to keep competitive in the arms market.

    As I see it they are smart, they prepare for the worst case scenarios. We haven’t & hope we start soon.

    • Jayson

      Muslim is further ahead on that front of your theory than China.

    • Chimp

      We have always been at war with Eastasia.

    • Thomas L. Nielsen

      “They say even, Canada, will someday soon have a Chinese majority”.

      “They” being who, in this case?

      And what does “have a Chinese majority” mean? More Chinese living in Canada than actual Canadians (however you define that term)? Well, Canada would have the space for them, I suppose, but it still seems a tad unlikely….

      Regards & all,

      Thomas L. Nielsen
      Luxembourg

      • blight

        “Entire areas of mostly Chinese in every major town globally”

        How conspiratorial! There are huge areas in Canada where only Canadians live. Bow in fear when people of like culture congregate.

    • Islam and China will both implode due to factors ingrained in their fundamental structures. Look at the barbarism of both cultures in the areas of basic human rights and decency. Both populations simply look the other way or approve of the public hangings and mutilations, women as slaves, and the One Child Policy… I dont really need to elaborate further. What is the Chinese ratio of men to women, like 10 to 1 now?

      • You are myopic. What the west terms as human rights, they term decadence and societal decay. Considering the incredibly social and economical slide downwards that western Europe and USA have undergone the last 50 years, I am not sure they are wrong.

    • Rabbit

      Oooooooh scary. Because all people of Chinese descent are just deep cover agents for the motherland, right?

  • OMEGATALON

    The F-35 is an extremely complex jet with all sorts of sensors and an extremely complex avionics suite as one might think it might be simply too much as they should essentially build a F-35 with the basics before adding in the avionics and more sophisticated avionics in later versions as this would allow the cost of the F-35 to be built for a lower cost like the F-16 which has a starting price of about $75-80M while the top tier variant with things like the AESA radar is almost $150M.

    • FtD

      so what you’re saying is buying a F35 is like buying a BMW that you can option it to whatever you like? so LM needs to make multiple radars work with multiple other sensors so that’s why it’s taking sooooooo long to get the think working at all

  • Marcellus Hambrick

    This is okay with a lot if liberals. They dont like the fact that the US is the only superpower and want someone like the Chinese to match us economically and militarily.

    • RTFA

      Which “liberals” say that? Do you have any pride in your credibility, or is it too much fun to make things up?

      • passingby

        He is making things up. This kind of child-like, playground variety labels and accusations are quite symbolic of American voters. It’s also why America is hopeless. The propaganda apparatus (the mainstream media) has done a good job dumbing down the general population.

  • RCDC

    This happens because we all have computer parts, software, networking , radar boosters and etc all made in China. Think about it. Where did it go wrong?

  • Trooper2

    I agree – espionage is just part of the game. But its too easy to just blame it on the ignorance or an unwillingness of the contractors to prevent cyber attacks. Even with all of the technical resources, trained and dedicated people, and command authority available, the DoD gets hacked, too.

  • passingby

    It’s a blame game gimmick that serves two purposes at once – (a) deflect responsibility for various failures on the part of the contractors such as severe budget overruns and delays in development, and (b) justify demands for additional funding to the tune of tens of billions to fatten the pockets of the contractors.

    The US military industrial complex will further benefits by hyping up the so-called China threat as part of their propaganda campaign to justify further theft of US taxpayers money through extraordinarily wasteful spending of various military programs.

    Whenever a news story comes out that has the consequence of justifying additional military spending while blaming foreign countries for espionage, it’s time for heightened vigilance, suspicion, and scrutiny.

    I wouldn’t take the report at face value. The US military and defense contractors have been persistent liars over the past 4-5 decades to say the least.

    I think they want more money and divert media’s attention of their own failures.

  • Alex Mason

    The US deliberately leaked details of the F-35 to the Chinese … how do you think the Chinese developed a stealth fighter that looks similar to the F-22 ? Once the Chinese come up with a reverse engineered variant of the F-35, Lockheed will use its lobby in the White House to push sales of additional squadrons of the F-35

    • Thomas L. Nielsen

      “The US deliberately leaked details of the F-35 to the Chinese” – Evidence, please.

      ” … how do you think the Chinese developed a stealth fighter that looks similar to the F-22 ?” – Maybe because they have skilled aeronautical engineers?

      While it’s certainly possible that specific details of the F-35 project (e.g. related to stealth materials or sensors” obtained through cyber intelligence gathering have been integrated into the J-20, the notion that “The J-20 looks like the F-22 because the US leaked details of the F-35” remains unsupported. Why details of the F-35 and not of the F-22? The latter at least would make more sense. And do you really think the J-20 looks like an F-22?

      Regards & all,

      Thomas L. Nielsen
      Luxembourg

    • JRL

      That’s right. The inscrutably sly US gubmint deliberately allowed foreign plastic model companies to make accurate scale models of the top-secret Raptor just so that the Chinese would buy one and … VOILA! The J-20 CopyCat now dominates the skies over the Pacific!

      Sheesh…

  • passingby

    It’s all about money. They want to squeeze US taxpayers dry by creating imaginary / false enemies and trick the US voters and the government into spending more on new weaponry.

    The modus operanti never gets old. The military industrial complex has more than enough money to wage propaganda campaigns via the mainstream media, and buy off corrupt politicians in Congress to give them trillions after trillions in outrageously priced products and services.

    That’s why they have been funding Mitt Romney and his ilk, while sabotaging Ron Paul, even if it means flagrant fraud.

    • The only trillions going out the window is for the elderly, welfare queens and future Obama Voterz of America. The elephant in the room. Compared to this, defense spending is a teddy bear.

      • passingby

        That’s a lie. First of all, the US government set up the Social Security program a long time ago for retirees and has been taking contributions to the program. When incoming funds outpaced outgoing payments, the US government had the audacity of secretly transferred the surplus meant for future payments to fund its federal budget deficits, mostly on ultra-expensive criminal military operations around the world and ultra-expensive weaponry. Now the baby-boomer generation will not be getting the SS payments the government promised because there is not sufficient fund in the account to pay them. You have no clue what is going on inside the US government. Obama, Clinton, GW Bush, GH Bush, Reagan, … they are all puppets of the military industrial complex. Same for the new crop of wannabe presidents – Mitt Romney, Rick Perry, Santorum, Newt Gingrich, Buchmann, Palin, … they are all scums. Ron Paul is the only Rep. candidate showing some wisdom, conscience and backbone.

  • passingby

    edit: middle paragraph – and buy off corrupt politicians in Congress to give them trillions after trillions in exchange for outrageously priced products and services.

  • PolicyWonk

    The Editors of Proceedings, Defense Weekly., and Av Week published an editorial years ago foreseeing problems like this. They were imploring the Reagan Administration to restore educational funding, student loans, and Pell Grant programs. Without our own (American) educated students, we would be reliant on outsiders to procure, manage, and design these complex systems. They all considered it to be a matter of national security, and now we get to reap the rewards (if you can call it that) of an uneducated society. If you think education is expensive: try ignorance.

  • SlumLord

    I was in a unclassified JSF briefing in April 2008 where I later found out that the info presented was classified. I sent a “challenge” notice through my security bubbas.
    The response back was effectively, “We are JSF, we can do what we want. F. U..”

    • Thomas L. Nielsen

      “The response back was effectively, “We are JSF, we can do what we want. F. U..” ”

      Well, at least they did’t try to blame the Chinese for that one as well (“Well, sir, we believe that a secret, Chinese cyber warfare unit hacked into our presentation and covertly inserted classified data. Really! That’s what we think happened!”).

      Regards & all,

      Thomas L. Nielsen
      Luxembourg

  • duuude

    Lockheed Martin is either making a scapegoat out of China because it cannot manage this project’s costs anymore, or it is actually in cahoots with our soon to be Oriental overlords in bankrupting Uncle Sam. Either way, make LM pay!!!

    • Riceball

      Asian, not Oriental. Oriental is a type of rug, not a people.

    • passingby

      Lockheed Martin IS part of the US government, just like Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan. They make taxpayers pay. Not the other way around.

      • Dfens

        No, if they were part of the government, then their CEOs couldn’t make 60 or 70 times more than the president of the US.

  • Robert

    China is evil and our enemy. War will come. God help us. We will need every nuke we have to scrub this garage from the earth.

    • Thomas L. Nielsen

      “War will come” – it will with that attitude, certainly.

      “God help us” – the Chinese have gods too, you know. Just sayin’.

      “We will need every nuke we have to scrub this garage from the earth” – Garage? You’re proposing to nuke sombody’s garage?

      Regards & all,

      Thomas L. Nielsen
      Luxembourg

  • Olrik

    You have no money for new airplanes anyways, so don’t worry, at least somebody is using the technology…

    • passingby

      China is funding America’s military programs, literally. It’s doing so by purchasing / holding over 1 trillion US govt debt.

      China should smarten up and start dumping the US treasuries while the dollar is still worth something, and at the same time pave way for demanding payments for its exports in RMB instead of USD.

      • STemplar

        Except that would be the completely wrong thing for China to do. They would cut their own throat economically. Their economy is export driven and driving up the value of your own native currency would be just about the dumbest thing a nation could do.

        China isn’t plowing trillions into US securities to control the US, they are doing it to help keep their own currency artificially low. If the US gets its spending habits under control China is in big trouble on the world trade scene. They won’t have anywhere to plow their currency reserves. It’s a big question whether the Euro is going to even survive so that leaves them essentially no choice.

        • passingby

          China’s economy used to be heavily export-driven. But transition to a strong domestically driven economy has been in the works for over a decade. While it’s hard to say how much of a success China has achieved so far, the direction has been very clear. Now China is getting close, or has already reached the stage where decoupling from the US should start in full force. In fact China is already doing it. And it’s not just China. Russia, Brazil, India, South East Asia, South America and parts of the Middle East (notably Iran) are doing it.

        • passingby

          cont’d – The US doesn’t have the money to buy China’s stuff – China is lending US the money. All China needs to do is to stop lending money to the US and redirect surplus production inward. Right now China is getting soon-to-be-worthless pieces of paper from the US in exchange for its export of real products. In the process China accumulates soon-to-be-worthless dollars and recycles them back to US treasuries to fund China’s own encirclement. It’s a bad deal. Once you understand the big picture, everything the US is doing will make sense. But first you will have to ween yourself off the US mainstream media – it’s nothing but a propaganda apparatus of Wall Street banksters and military industrial complex vampires.

          • STemplar

            China already has redirected inward, that’s how they artificially maintained growth through the recession by pouring billions into infrastructure projects they had no use for. Problem is that can’t be maintained.

            In addition China isn’t weening itself off of anything, it never has and still won’t allow its currency to be floated on the international markets, all part of keeping the value down to drive down export costs.

            In addition they just lost a WTO appeal in that they were artificially monkeying with mineral exports to drive prices down domestically, to again, make manufacturing for export cheaper.

            You’re completely wrong on China and what it is doing with its economy, plus I don’t even know why I bothered posting all this when I read your moon landing conspiracy comment. You have a nice time here, this will be my last post to you.

          • passingby

            Here is your problem. You recite what you have been fed by the mainstream media without thinking for yourself. You don’t look at the evidence to the contrary, even when some it has been available from the mainstream media.

            China’s infrastructure spending doesn’t constitute inward redirection of surplus production. It’s part of a necessary long term program to build efficient mass transportation of goods and materials between coastal areas and central China.

            Chinese central bank governor has laid out a timetable for a fully convertible RMB – 2015. In addition, China is establishing bilateral currency swap agreements as well as bilateral trade-in-local-currency agreements with trading partners, in effect paving the way for eliminating US dollar in the process.

            The biggest currency manipulator in the world is the US – it’s printing Trillions out of thin air. That’s precisely why so many countries are openly advocating a move away from the dollar. It’s also why the US is instigating conflicts in the Middle East to create excuses for military invasions to control ME oil fields and maintain its petro-dollar hegemony.

            You are obviously not trained in a science or technical field so I’m not going to discuss manned moon landing hoax based on evidence and logical inference.

            Don’t be so conceited about your (false) knowledge about economics. As I said, until you ween yourself off the mainstream media, no real understanding of the world is possible.

          • Thomas L. Nielsen

            “You are obviously not trained in a science or technical field so I’m not going to discuss manned moon landing hoax based on evidence and logical inference”

            That’s rich. Really, it is. Considering the scientific quality of the so called “evidence” of a moon landing hoax, you certainly don’t need to be “trained in a science or technical field” (what are your qualifications, BTW?) to debunk it.

            And “Don’t be so conceited about your (false) knowledge….”? Seriously? You call STemplar conceited, yet you are the one who won’t discuss a particular topic because he’s “obviously not trained in a science or technical field”. Pot, meet kettle.

            Personally, I am a trained bachelor of science in the field of mechanical engineering and energy conversion machines. Will that do?

            Regards & all,

            Thomas L. Nielsen
            Luxembourg

          • passingby

            No, it won’t do, and not just because of a mere claim to a degree, but the actual competence demonstrated in one’s argument. I suggest you go back and read his posts and my posts again and see who’s the one not wanting to discuss the topic at hand (hint: it’s not manned moon landing).

            This is a basic reading comprehension exercise.

          • Thomas L. Nielsen

            “not just because of a mere claim to a degree”
            I’ll send you a scan of my diploma, how about that? And you still haven’t elaborated on your own qualifications.

            “hint: it’s not manned moon landing”
            No hint needed. You stated quite clearly that you didn’t want to discuss that because (in your view) your opponent “obviously” wasn’t educated enough to grasp you arguments.

            “I suggest you go back and read his posts and my posts again and see who’s the one not wanting to discuss the topic at hand”
            I did that, and I see a lot of willingness to discuss the subject at hand (except for your statement as referenced above). What I also see is that your opponent does not agree with you. Is that what you refer to as “not wanting to discuss”?

            Regards & all

            Thomas L. Nielsen
            Luxembourg

          • passingby

            LOL. I don’t know about others but if I were to grade your performance in this reading comprehension exercise on a scale of A to F, I would give you a double F minus, giving due consideration to your B. Sc. degree.

            Perhaps repeating the exercise a few more times would help?

          • crackedlenses

            Leave this site and go find one where people are as smart as you. Fact is we are all to stupid and uneducated to understand your priceless words of wisdom.

            After all, I’m sure you speak for the experts, and when you die no one will be left to tell us what really happened. MUHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!………….

          • passingby

            Don’t get me wrong. There are some very smart, educated and knowledgeable people here. It’s just that you are not one of them.

          • crackedlenses

            No, I would be ashamed of myself if I were as know-it-all and cynical as you. I don’t think that I’m always correct (hence my screen name), but you sir are seriously off in some areas (moon landing included). I have nothing against Ron Paul, but you give him and his supporters a bad name……

  • B Fawbush

    Why dont they justeet face to face/ Robert DeNiro prefered it in GoodFellas so people didnt WIRE INTO THEIR CONVERATIONS. we should be having face to face meetings about this top secret stuff until we get our cyber security up to requirements

  • itfunk

    Blaming the Chinese now for fundamental design flaws – it’s beyond laughable its just pathetic.

  • kim

    Somehow I do miss military personnel commenting more in this forum. When occasionally they identify themselves as such, it’s hard not to notice how the the quality of the comment is above average (including – notably – the spelling). Reading the comments from all the armchair warriors below is often a challenge, though.

    • blight

      The fault lies with the deterioration of the public education system. I imagine the quality of the posts probably correlates with age and education moreso than vet/non-vet; which is in turn biased because less than a percent of the population even serves in the first place, raising the quandary of whether or not 1% of the population can be a representative sample.

  • Infidel4LIFE

    We should slap a huge tariff on all their export goods they are killing us in every area and not many seem to care. The JSF will be a helluva warplane..one day. Disgrace.

    • Dfens

      I agree with you on the tariffs, but not on the F-35. The only version worth keeping is the VTOL version, which will probably be the first one cancelled. Even it has some fundamental problems like you don’t want to be sitting in the pilot’s seat when that lift fan explodes and cuts you into top and bottom halves.

      • crackedlenses

        Kind of like being afraid of the wings on your F-14 shearing off during a dog fight? (OK I’m stumping for a fight ;)……….

  • Thomas L. Nielsen

    “You’re trying to branch out further by taking on manned lunar landing.”
    I’m trying to branch out? It surely has not escaped your vastly superior intellect that in your post above (1 day ago by this time) you initially brought up your belief in a moon landing hoax. What we have done since then is simply refer back to this original statement.

    Regards & all,

    Thomas L. Nielsen
    Luxembourg

  • CristoCano

    Its not so hard to incorporate a tight security framework into these projects from the very beginning. This is an expensive lesson painfully learned. Hopefully from now on, any new technology and systems developed in the future will have cyber espionage countermeasures in place at every level.

    • blight_

      Considering even Verisign, one of the first names in internet security was cracked; it suggests that simply slapping on more “espionage countermeasures” is not a magic panacea. It’s more about policing our external security, more than putting in security on every level. It’s cost and time prohibitive.

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