The Air Force plans to upgrade its venerable B-52 bombers for 30 more years of service. The most challenging facet of the upgrades is installing more fuel-efficient and reliable turbofan engines. Each plane has eight engines. The service has four commercial engines from which to choose. However, one of them, the General Electric CF34, has been sold to Chinese civil-aircraft manufacturer COMAC for use on its ARJ21-700 regional jet. COMAC was sanctioned by the U.S. Department of Defense in January due to fears that it shares technology with the Chinese military. That raises questions about whether the CF34 might pose a security threat if installed on the B-52, for example, a danger of cyber intrusion. I don’t know if it does, but the source selection authority for the reengining project will need to consider the possibility. I have written a commentary for Forbes here.
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