Follow CGSP on Social Media

Listen to the CGSP Podcast

Chinese-Processed Cobalt (Likely From the DRC) Was to Blame For the U.S. Sales Shutdown of the F-35 Fighter Jet

File image of a Lockheed Martin F-35 U.S. fighter jet. JUSTIN TALLIS / AFP

Sales in the U.S. of the advanced F-35 fighter jet were shut down after it was discovered that a magnet in the plane contained an alloy made with cobalt that was processed in China.

It’s against the law in the U.S. for the Defense Department (DoD) to purchase advanced weapons systems like the F-35 that contain Chinese-sourced materials. The cobalt in question was likely also extracted from a Chinese-controlled mine in the DR Congo.

  • Get a daily email packed with the latest China-Africa news and analysis.
  • Read exclusive insights on the key trends shaping China-Africa relations.
  • Full access to the News Feed that provides daily updates on Chinese engagement in Africa and throughout the Global South.

China, Africa and the Global South... find out what’s happening.

Subscribe today for unlimited access.

What is The China-Africa Project?


The CAP is passionately independent, non-partisan and does not advocate for any country, company or culture.


A carefully curated selection of the day’s most important China-Africa stories. Updated 24 hours a day by human editors. No bots, no algorithms.


Diverse, often unconventional insights from scholars, analysts, journalist and a variety of stakeholders in the China-Africa discourse.


A unique professional network of China-Africa scholars, analysts, journalists and other practioners from around the world.