US F-35 fighter jet susceptible to hacking: Report


The US military’s newest and most expensive fighter jet, F-35, might be susceptible to hacking through its $500,000 helmet, according to a report.

The sophisticated computer-driven helmet will give US fighter pilots new capabilities when the aircraft enters the American fleet in the coming years, CBS News reports.

US F-35 fighter jet susceptible to hacking Report

The helmet is run by a computer named ALIS which functions as the “brain” of the fighter jet.

“She looks basically like a laptop computer, and the pilot carries it out to the plane and sticks it in a slot right next to him in the cockpit. That contains all the information about the mission he’s gonna fly,” said correspondent David Martin who tried on the helmet for “60 Minutes” program.

But ALIS has a security problem. “This is a juicy, juicy target for a hacker,” said Martin. “If your adversary can hack into all that software that’s running [the mission], then they’ve essentially defeated the plane.”

Lockheed Martin’s F-35 has proven to be a controversial program. Even though the Pentagon has spent almost $400 billion to buy 2,400 aircraft, the program is 7 years behind schedule and $163 billion over budget.

The Aviation Week reported that US warplanes, under the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program, are incapable of escaping Russian and Chinese radars.

“The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter… is not, in fact, stealthy in the eyes of a growing number of Russian and Chinese radars,” the report said.

Early this year, the US Defense Department waived laws that banned the use of Chinese-made components on US weapons, including on F-35 fighter jets.

Chief US arms buyer Frank Kendall allowed two F-35 suppliers to use Chinese magnets for the new fighter jet’s radar system, landing gears and other hardware, according to Pentagon documents reviewed by Reuters.

Without the waivers production of F-35 jets could have faced further delays.

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