China’s "carrier killer," the DF-21D anti-ship ballistic missile that can destroy American ships, had a unique origin: its base technology was pilfered from U.S. military trash during the 1990s, according to recent revelations by a Chinese military analyst.
Further, a key part of the rocket system for that missile was obtained from U.S. engineering firm Martin Marietta, also in the 1990s.
Richard Fisher, who has kept close tabs on the transfer of military technology to China, says that a “U.S. source” recently told him what he had suspected all along: that from the tons of military scrap China bought from the U.S. a decade and a half ago, intelligence was gathered to develop the radar guidance system that is now being used in the Dongfeng-21C, which enabled the People’s Liberation Army to develop its DF-21D medium-range ballistic missile for destroying American aircraft carriers.
“Due to China’s guile and America’s gullibility, China is in 2011 able to threaten the Asian balance of power with a new unique weapon for which the U.S. has no defense,” Fisher said in an email. “A US carrier has a crew that numbers up to 6,000. That’s nearly twice the number of Americans who died at Pearl Harbor.”
Due to China’s guile and America’s gullibility, China is in 2011 able to threaten the Asian balance of power with a new unique weapon for which the U.S. has no defense.Fisher was put on the trail in late 1996 at the Zhuhai Airshow. He began questioning the engineer at a display for GPS guidance systems, gleaning that GPS was being applied to the short range ballistic missile under development at the time, and that the medium range ballistic missile—the DF-21 series—was using radar technology for the guidance system.
— Richard Fisher, analyst of the Chinese military
Diamonds in the Trash
One month later a 6,000 word article appeared in U.S. News and World Report describing in painful detail how a Pentagon program for selling U.S. military refuse had spun out of control. Incorrect coding on sensitive items and lack of oversight meant that 20 billion dollars worth of equipment was being moved from military bases each year, an unmitigated disaster that persisted despite repeated complaints from insiders.
When China got a whiff of this they got in quick, and for 15 years agents on the bottom rung of a Chinese espionage network systematically bought up this refuse.
One Chinese buyer in Georgia referred to a military surplus depot as “the candy store.” The military base, he wrote in a note to his boss, “will fill our needs into the next century.”
After a 16-month investigation, $157 million in equipment was found illegally shipped to Asian countries, including China, but that was only a portion. In cracking open one of the seized containers destined for Hong Kong (a common waypoint before the mainland), investigators found “fully operational encryption devices, submarine propulsion parts, radar systems, electron tubes for Patriot guided missiles, even F-117A Stealth fighter parts. Many of these parts, sold as ‘surplus,’ were brand new,” US News reported.
No evidence, like a shopping list from Beijing, was uncovered to incriminate the Chinese agents on the ground in the United States. “I think the reason for that … is that they don’t need to communicate directly,” a customs agent told US News. “These people have been doing this for 15 years. They know exactly what their country wants.”
These vast quantities of sensitive military equipment were shipped back to China for intelligence processing.
Five years earlier the U.S. had begun dismantling its Pershing-II medium-range ballistic missile, as part of the 1987 US-Soviet Intermediate Nuclear Forces Agreement.
Discarded parts from this missile then got into the military garbage supply.
In 1997 Fisher suspected that “China’s garbage espionage may have contributed to their being able to develop a terminally guided ballistic missile.”
And Fisher’s source recently confirmed to him this was the case. The Epoch Times could not obtain any further information about the source, nor interview him/her directly.
However, the timeline that Fisher presented matched up with that found in a document on a Chinese military website. A long, highly detailed technical article described research on the guidance system for the missile being completed in 1996, as well as the development of a radar system.