Chicoms try to get hands on US fighter jet engines
On Thursday, a woman named Wenxia Man was convicted in a Florida court of conspiring to evade U.S. export laws by illegally acquiring and sending fighter jet engines and drones to China,according to the U.S. Department of Justice.In the past the Chinese have bought or stolen the designs of engines from Russia. They must think the American engines are superior. The Chinese have been active in stealing the designs of US military technology, but they either could not get the engine designs or could not master their construction.
Prosecutors said Man was working with an associate in China to buy and export engines made by Pratt & Whitney and General Electric (GE), which are found in a range of top U.S. military aircraft, including the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the F-22 and the F-16 fighter jets. She was also found to have tried to export a General Atomics drone, and technical data for the different hardware items.
During the investigation, Man referred to her associate as a 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 Department of Justice said.
The conviction of Man is the latest development in an ongoing saga of corporate espionage between the U.S. and China. Experts say spying has played a role in China's strategy to modernize the country in recent decades. The illicit acquisition of technology has helped China accelerate the process, bypassing problems that would otherwise require years of research and development to resolve, according to analysts.