Stolen F-35 secrets showing up in China’s stealth fighter
Design data on F-35 stolen in 2007
U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Brian West watches an Air Force F-35 Lightning II joist strike fighter aircraft approach for the first time July 14, 2011, at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla.
(U.S. Air Force photo by Samuel King Jr.)
A cyber espionage operation by China seven years ago produced sensitive technology and aircraft secrets that were incorporated into the latest version of China’s new J-20 stealth fighter jet, according to U.S. officials and private defense analysts.
The Chinese cyber spying against the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II took place in 2007 under what U.S. intelligence agencies codenamed Operation Byzantine Hades, a large-scale, multi-year cyber program that targeted governments and industry.
Defense officials said the stolen data was obtained by a Chinese military unit called a Technical Reconnaissance Bureau in the Chengdu province. The data was then passed to the state-run Aviation Industry Corp. of China (AVIC).