A computer-generated skeletal view of a military transport closely resembling the Boeing C-17 appeared in a promotional video released last year by Aviation Industries of China (AVIC). Coincidentally–or not–the FBI last week arrested a former Boeing engineer and charged him with passing trade secrets on the C-17 to China.
The engineer, Greg Chung, 72, is a U.S. citizen of Chinese origin, who worked for Boeing in Southern California. He also faces charges of handing over details of the Delta IV space launcher. U.S. attorney Thomas O’Brien said Chung was motivated by love for “the motherland,” rather than a desire to get rich.
The fuselage and tail shown in the AVIC video look much like the C-17, but the wing and engine-mounting configuration differs. AVIC has not formally revealed a jet military transport development program. China has been importing Ilyushin Il-76 transports from Russia and Uzbekistan for its air force and as the platform for development of an indigenous AEW system.
During the 1980s and early 1990s, China acquired and adapted various Western military technology, especially from Europe and Israel. Although done legitimately, the projects drew controversy in the West, especially after China’s brutal suppression of democracy activists in 1989. But the U.S. Director of National Intelligence warned recently that China’s secret service ranked among the “most aggressive” in trying to steal U.S. military secrets.
In a separate case, the FBI last week charged three others with selling military information to the People’s Republic. Those arrested were Yu Xin Kang, Tai Shen Kuo and Gregg Bergersen. They were accused of passing classified information from the Pentagon to China, mostly concerning U.S. arms sales to Taiwan. Yu is a Chinese citizen with permanent residence in the U.S. Tai is a U.S. citizen born in Taiwan. AIN has learned Bergersen worked for Science Applications International Corp., an engineering and systems integration house that is a major contractor to the U.S. Defense Department.