The Biden administration on June 8 sanctioned three U.S. companies for sending plans and technical drawings of satellite and rocket technologies and other defense prototypes to China.
The US Department of Commerce banned the three companies – Quicksilver Manufacturing Inc., Rapid Cut LLC and US Prototype Inc. – from exporting items to foreign countries for 180 days. The penalty, known as a temporary denial order, is considered one of the most severe civil penalties available to the department.
These companies provide 3D printing services to customers, including space and defense technology manufacturers.
The Commerce Department said customers would send blueprints and drawings of what they were printing to these companies, which in turn would send that work to China, presumably to cut costs.
The transaction would have required US government approval, but no clearance was sought, the Commerce Department said.
“Outsourcing 3D printing of space and defense prototypes to China harms U.S. national security,” Matthew Axelrod, assistant secretary of commerce for export enforcement, said in a statement. “By sending their customers’ technical drawings and blueprints to China, these companies may have saved a few dollars, but they did so at the collective expense of protecting US military technology.”
The Commerce Department’s 11-page order does not allege the plans were exploited by the Chinese military, but it does say the actions present “serious national security concerns.”
The Commerce Department used the companies’ clients to check their records to ensure that their intellectual property was not compromised.
The latest incident could amount to serving sensitive US military technology on the shelf to China, which for years has engaged in various forms of espionage aimed at stealing classified US military information, which includes technology secrets from platforms. advanced American military forms.
As EurAsian Times reported earlier, China has been accused by the United States of building its advanced fighter jet platforms, J-20 and FC-31, based on stolen technology. of the American F-35 fighter plane.
Chinese hackers allegedly stole many terabytes of data related to the F-35 program, including information on radar design, engine, etc. of the F-35.
J-20 cockpit versus F-35 cockpit pic.twitter.com/tLNFdHJ80J
— 彩云香江 (@louischeung_hk) December 8, 2021
In addition to this, the Chinese hackers also appear to have obtained information on the US Air Force’s F-22 Raptor and B-2 Stealth bombers, as well as space-based laser, guidance and tracking missile systems, and on designs for nuclear submarines and anti-aircraft missiles.
Apart from hackers, China has also used traditional espionage means to obtain B-2 Stealth technology. In 2005, an Indian-American engineer, Noshir Gowadia, was found helping to develop Chinese stealth technology, using knowledge he had gained through his involvement in the early stages of the B-stealth bomber. 2 Spirit.
Gowadia was angry that he was not included in the project for future phases and therefore decided to set up his own consulting company.
He admitted to many of the charges leveled against him by federal investigators, although he claimed he only used declassified documents. A jury disagreed and Gowadia was sentenced to 32 years in prison, disappointing prosecutors who had sought life imprisonment.
In another case, a naturalized US citizen of Chinese descent, Chi Mak, was convicted in 2007 of conspiring to export sensitive defense technology to China. Mak worked as an engineer for California-based defense contractor Power Paragon, part of L-3 Communications.
He had worked on Navy engines and collected sensitive information from other engineers before sending it to China. When the FBI raided Mak’s home, they found piles upon piles of classified information relating to naval technology, much of it still intended for new Navy ships.
Additionally, the Chinese Y-20 heavy-lift aircraft was reportedly developed from designs stolen from Boeing.
The Y-20 bears a striking resemblance to the US Army’s Boeing C-17 Globemaster III. Interestingly, in 2009 a former Boeing employee was reportedly found guilty of selling technical details of the C-17 to China when the Y-20 was still in its infancy.
Although relatively smaller than the C-17, the Y-20 is still a massive transport aircraft capable of transporting heavy Chinese weapons across the planet.
In April, China undertook an unprecedented overseas mission, in which six Y-20 heavy transport aircraft flew to Serbia at the same time, surprising flight trackers and observers of the aviation.
Interesting find by @Prova_61 👍… In fact, I’ve never seen before, what appears to be the hatch removed for the glitter and flare dispenser boxes.
(Images via Weibo’s @铁马军戈战沙场) pic.twitter.com/3xBOrkMlmI
— @Rupprecht_A (@RupprechtDeino) April 9, 2022
These Y-20s carried FK-3 surface-to-air missiles to Serbia, seen as China demonstrating its military might in Europe amid the ongoing Ukraine crisis.
According to Fu Qianshao, a Chinese military aviation expert, the operation demonstrated a significant advance in the PLA Air Force’s long-range strategic lift capabilities, as well as support capabilities. intercontinental logistics and maintenance of the heavy transport aircraft.