Skip to comments.Risky titanium business
Posted on 08/03/2006 11:47:46 AM PDT by Tailgunner Joe
Without so much as a single public hearing, the Senate has adopted a bill that could radically weaken our national defense. Obscure language slipped into legislation on the Senate floor would effectively enable outsourcing to Russia the production of titanium, a strong but lightweight metal that is critical for America's military hardware -- aircraft, armored vehicles and other defense systems.
Alarmingly, the provision would enable America's ability to produce defense-grade titanium to be handed over to a single company in Russia. What's worse, the Russian government is attempting to take over the company, named VSMPO.
In other words -- and this, unfortunately, is not an exaggeration -- the Senate action could lead to a situation where the Defense Department could not build jet fighters or bombers without the Kremlin's permission. Will Russian President Vladimir Putin and his successors always agree to sell Defense the titanium it needs? Who knows? Even if the United States got its orders filled, the Kremlin would have information on every detail of the grade and quantity of titanium that the Pentagon wants to buy, and good intelligence on what weapons systems the U.S. is building. ...
Current law requires that certain critical materials used in Defense contracts -- like titanium and other important specialty metals -- must be produced in the United States. These provisions on specialty metals were adopted into law decades ago and have worked as intended, providing the United States with a reliable source of domestic titanium and other specialty metals for military applications. ...
The American titanium industry is too important to our national security to be replaced as a supplier to the Defense Department by a company targeted for takeover by the Russian government.
(Excerpt) Read more at washingtontimes.com ...
The law requiring the use of domestic titanium only was probably becoming a protectionist racket like so many other government subsidies. Maybe the competition will do them good. If the Russian Ti is up to snuff, what's the problem?
There are two possible reasons: Treason, and selling titanium stocks short.
Senate? Probably both play a role.
Walter Williams is not exactly known for his love of protectionism. National Security trumps free trade.
Uh, gee, maybe because then Russia could hamstring our ability to build subs and fighters by cutting off our imports of titanium?
Our Ti production doesn't magically disappear because other suppliers are available. I call Barbra Streisand.
What does Walter Williams have to do with this article?
Sudden cutoff from supply due to political whim's is one of the problems. We can't always keep the Russians happy.
Let's just give them the key to NORAD while we are at it ..
Actually, two thirds of the titanium produced in this country was used by the aerospace industry in 1998. However, I imagine that amount will drop over the next few years since Boeing is moving to composites for its aircraft.
Here is some general information on titanium production and use in this country:
" maybe because then Russia could hamstring our ability to build subs and fighters by cutting off our imports of titanium"
Well, if they convince China to go along with them, we won't need the titanium for subs or aircraft because we won't be able to buy the integrated circuits we need for either.
There was a time early in my engineering career where we couldn't design in ANY electronics that were from offshore sources.
That's all changed now.
When our manufacturers fold and the commies, er, Russkis cut us off 'cause we're beatin' on one of their friends, could that be a problem?
Consider Vladimir's problem...... he's broke and needs to raise some cash. He has mountains of titanium billets stockpiled since only God knows when.
He whispered in W's ear. "My eyes are blinded by the mountain of titanium. If you could take some of it off my hands I might see clearly what's happening in Iran."
W says "Vlad, all you had to do is ask. That's a problem I think I can actually help you with."
W did the right thing..... he helped a friend.
In the late 1950s, the US needed titanium for the first generation of SR-71 spyplanes, one of which is on display at the Seattle Air and Space Museum. The US was critically short of this metal and so approached a trading company in Brazil about getting some from the Russians. The Russians were told that the Brazilians had a need for their aircraft industry and traded some agricultural commodities to Russia for the metal. We paid the Brazilians in US dollars and built the planes.
Cool story! I've seen and touched that SR-71 (I was surprised at how small it is). Nice to know more of the background.
For years during the cold war the US set up dummy corporations in South Africa to purchase titanium from the Soviet union to build our own submarines.
"Let's just give them the key to NORAD while we are at it .."
NORAD is going offline soon and will be open to public tours.
And no, I'm not kidding.
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