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23 Dec, 2016 14:36

'China could overtake US air superiority using hacked American technology'

'China could overtake US air superiority using hacked American technology'

The technology that went into China’s new J-20 jet fighter was stolen and diverted from export licenses the Commerce Department issued over a decade ago despite Defense Department objections, former Pentagon official Michael Maloof told RT’s Ed Schultz.

The US, Russia and China are in an expensive technological race to achieve global air superiority.

President-elect Donald Trump met with officials of the companies developing fighter jets to talk about the cost of the next generation planes.

President Barack Obama mentioned China in his last news conference accusing it of carrying out cyber-attacks on US companies “to steal trade secrets in proprietary technology.”

The Chinese hacking of military secrets is well documented. Some fear the stealth technology in China's J-20 fighter may have come from hacking classified American military material. The J-20 will challenge the F-22 Raptor and the F-35 for air superiority.

RT: There are US officials who are concerned about what kind of material – as far as design and content - the Chinese have got. Now they show up on the market with a very comparable jet fighter. What do you make of it?

Michael Maloof: It has been going on for years. What happened: the technology that went into the J-20 was actually stolen and diverted almost a decade ago from diversions of either technology illegally, or from export licenses that the Commerce Department issued over Defense Department objections. I happened to be at the Pentagon at the time that happened. It was during the Clinton administration. They got the stealth technology. The one thing that they are still looking for and they may have already got is the hot section technology for jet engines. That is absolutely critical. Without that kind of technology, they have to completely service their engines and be out of service for quite some time. But with that kind of technology, which they would get from other exports, like from Pratt & Whitney. That is why these exports of US aircraft, for example, they will just reverse engineer. Now the Chinese have been working through companies then associated with Lockheed Martin, for example, that is making the F-35. That is where they got that basic design. So they combine that with stealth technology that they received. They put it all together – then it is going to be a very formidable aircraft.

The aircraft J-20 is looked upon more as a long-range fighter for the Chinese to engage, if they have to, over the East and South China Sea. But it is not comparable in capability to the F-35 or the F-22 Raptor, which we also have. But those two aircraft don’t have the range and the internal weapons capability that the J-20 would have.

RT: But of course it should be alerted to the American people that this technology was stolen by the Chinese. And we’ve had a great uproar about alleged hacking by the Russians in the US election. Seems like this one didn’t get as much conversation. Is it an unfair statement?

MM: No, it is not. And I would add that the Chinese are diverting more, and more. They have entire military institutions dedicated to hacking not only proprietary information but trying to get stolen technology from US companies all the time, and it has not abated.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.