The Chinese latest J-20 Stealth Fighter comes sporting some of the latest cutting edge technology advances – which were stolen from the US during a cyber espionage campaign.
According to defense officials, starting in 2007 Chinese hackers were involved in a massive, multi-year cyber espionage program dubbed, “Operation Byzantine Hades”, that targeted foreign governments and industry.
At the expense of American companies, Chinese hackers have done wonders for China’s technical capabilities, especially their military research and development. By infiltrating American military subcontractors, and stealing top secret documents, Chinese hackers were able to save millions of dollars and cut decades off of R&D time.
According to an article in the Chinese Global Times, the following techs used in the J-20 were “obtained” from the F-35:
- Diverterless supersonic inlet
- Electro-optical distributed aperture system
- Electro-optical targeting system
- AVEN nozzle
- Fire-control array radar system
Earlier this year the Pentagon also revealed that the designs for the new Terminal High Altitude Area Defense missile systems and the Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) missile defenses had also been compromised.
Some aviation technologist are saying that with the tech upgrades that were stolen from the US, the J-20 might be a better match for our F-22 (which it suspiciously looks like) instead of the F-35. And with their massive production capability, this could really cause a shift in their air power capabilities.
Many reports have surfaced about various problems with the F-35. From cracked bulkheads, to issues with the plane’s Autonomic Logistics Information System. Some experts have even called out the F-35 saying it is a waste of money, unsafe and incapable of performing as billed.
One of the outspoken critics of the F-35 is Pierre Sprey, co-designer of the F-16 and the A-10. Of the F-35 he said, “It’s as if Detroit suddenly put out a car with lighter fluid in the radiator and gasoline in the hydraulic brake lines,” he told me. “That’s how unsafe this plane is. Plopping down a fighter this full of bugs and this untested in the middle of a populated area is just nuts.”
This YouTube video by Sprey is also enlightening:
We can’t go back in time and undo what was done, or recover the secrets stolen by the Chinese. All we can hope with the J-20 at this point is that China also copied the F-35’s problems.