China F-35 Secrets: American Secrets Stolen by China, Officials Say

March 14, 2014 Updated: July 18, 2015

China stole technology used in the F-35 and has incorporated it into its latest version of the J-20 stealth fighter jet.

The country launched a cyber espionage operation seven years ago against Lockheed Martin, which produces the F-35 Lightning II. Operation Byzantine Hades also targeted other companies and government agencies.

The secret data was obtained by a Chinese military unit and then passed on to the a state-run aviation company, officials and analysts told the Washington Free Beacon.

A subsidiary of that company used the secrets in building the J-20. 

The subsidiary, AVIC, formed a joint venture with American company General Electric in 2011, over concerns from Pentagon technology security officials. “The Obama administration ignored the concerns and instead has since promoted the systematic loosening of technology controls on transfers to China,” reported the media outlet. 

The F-35 data theft was confirmed after photographs of the J-20 showed up on Chinese websites. Part of the stolen data was design upgrades. 

Another aspect was significant weapons enhancements, primarily a new electro-optical targeting system under its nose.

China has over the years launched a number of cyber attacks against countries including the United States and European countries. 

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