Chinese Government almost got ahold of advanced U.S. flight technology
And military drones, too
Military flight technology is developed over years and guarded carefully. Modern planes are elaborate machines, full of specific parts and components that all have to work or else a multi-million dollar craft fails when it’s most needed. If you don’t have the blueprint for a specific plane, there are two ways to figure out how to match its abilities. One is the painstaking process of building a similar plane independently by trial and error. The other option: just steal it. Steal it all.
Last night, the Justice Department announced Wenxia Man of San Diego was convicted by a federal jury in Florida for conspiring to export jet engines and a drone to China.
From the release:
According to evidence presented at trial, between approximately March 2011 and June 2013, Man conspired with Xinsheng Zhang, who was located in China, to illegally acquire and export to China defense articles including: Pratt & Whitney F135-PW-100 engines used in the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter; Pratt & Whitney F119-PW-100 turbofan engines used in the F-22 Raptor fighter jet; General Electric F110-GE-132 engines designed for the F-16 fighter jet; the General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper/Predator B Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, capable of firing Hellfire Missiles; and technical data for each of these defense articles. During the course of the investigation, when talking to an HSI undercover agent, Man referred to Zhang, as a “technology spy” who worked on behalf of the Chinese military to copy items obtained from other countries and stated that he was particularly interested in stealth technology.
The F-35 is America’s newest jet fighter, versions of which will serve with the Air Force, Navy, and Marines. In total, American plans to purchase more than 2,400 F-35s, and they’ll serve for at least 30 years, likely longer. The F-22 is America’s premier and exclusive air-to-air superiority fighter, built to outfight any other plane in the sky. While there are only about 187 F-22s in service, the Air Force has recently talked about restarting their production line. F-16s serve with many Air Forces across the globe, and the United States still employs over 1,200 of these versatile fighters.