Monday, November 08, 2004

The Consequences of Perfidy

Fighter aircraft being produced in China and Pakistan have achieved performance approaching that of the U.S. Lockheed Martin F-16A Block 15 fighter, thanks to the use of sensitive U.S. technologies transferred to China during the Clinton administration. That is the conclusion of a special report published in today's Defense & Foreign Affairs Daily ("Advanced Chinese and Pakistani Fighter Utilizes Illegally -- or Accidentally -- Transferred Sensitive U.S. Technology," November 8, 2004).

The aircraft is the CF-1/JF-17 Thunder fighter [sic -- see Defense Talk and Global Security for more information on the FC-1 "Chao Qi" / JF-17 Thunder] that is being made at Chengdu Aircraft Industry Corporation in the PRC and Pakistan Aeronautical Complex in Kamra. China expects to deploy 200 of the fighters by 2006; Pakistan plans to deploy 150 beginning in 2005-6.

The details emerged in a just concluded Aerospace exhibition in Zhuhai. The restricted technology in the fighter is the quadruple-redundant fly-by-wire technology and the single-crystal jet engine fan blade technology. Global Information Service recognized the fly-by-wire system as the system produced by Honeywell. This technology was approved by the Clinton administration, but only for civil use. The single-crystal jet engine fan blade technology is unique to the U.S., and had been prohibited for export, though the finished product is used on exported U.S. jet engines.

The report concludes that these fighters highlight the extent that sensitive technology was transferred from the United States to China during the Clinton administration, thereby confirming the concerns voiced in the 1999 official report of the U.S. Congress's Cox Commission.

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