By Bill Gertz
THE WASHINGTON TIMES
November 23, 2006
China obtained secret stealth technology used on B-2 bomber engines from
a Hawaii-based spy ring in a compromise U.S. officials say will allow
Beijing to copy or counter a key weapon in the Pentagon's new strategy
Details of the classified defense technology related to the B-2's engine
exhaust system and its ability to avoid detection by infrared sensors
were sold to Chinese officials by former defense contractor Noshir S.
Gowadia, an Indian-born citizen charged with spying in a federal
indictment released by prosecutors in Hawaii.
Additionally, Mr. Gowadia provided extensive technical assistance to
Chinese weapons designers in developing a cruise missile with an engine
exhaust system that is hard to detect by radar, according to court
papers made public recently.
He also helped the Chinese modify a cruise missile so that it can
intercept U.S. air-to-air missiles, and helped Chinese weapons designers
improve testing and measurement facilities, the court papers state.
Most of the indictment, handed up Nov. 8, outlines how the engineer
helped China develop a radar-evading stealth exhaust nozzle for a cruise
Additionally, the court papers indicated that Mr. Gowadia sent e-mails
to Israel, Germany, and Switzerland in 2002 and 2004 that contained data
labeled "secret" and "top secret" that was related to U.S. stealth
technology intended for use in the TH-98 Eurocopter and for foreign
One computer file found in Mr. Gowadia's Maui, Hawaii, home was a file
containing the radar cross-sections of U.S. B-1 and F-15 jets and the
Air Force's air-launched cruise missile, information that would be
useful to countering those systems by anti-aircraft missiles or other
air defense weapons.
The case is the second major military technology espionage case
involving China. Earlier this year, two Chinese-born brothers in Los
Angeles were arrested as suspects in passing Navy warship and submarine
weapons secrets to China.
In all, Mr. Gowadia is charged with making at least six secret visits to
China from 2002 through 2005, and being paid at least $110,000 by
Chinese officials for highly classified defense technology supplied
through January, according to court papers. Investigators think he was
paid as much as $2 million, some of which remains in foreign bank
The first known compromise was Mr. Gowadia's lecture in a foreign
country in 1999 that involved the disclosure of defense secrets. He
offered classified defense information to as many as eight foreign
nations, the court papers state.
Mr. Gowadia was first indicted in November 2005 in connection with
passing information to several countries that were not identified. The
new indictment states that Mr. Gowadia continued to be engaged in a
conspiracy to sell classified technology through January 2006.
Mr. Gowadia worked for B-2 developer and manufacturer Northrop Aircraft
Inc. from 1968 to 1989 as part of an ultrasecret special access program
for the B-2, and later as a Northrop contractor involved in classified
research on missiles and aircraft. He also worked at Los Alamos National
Laboratory in the 1990s.
He developed the still-secret method used by military aircraft to
suppress infrared signals from the engine that blocks heat-seeking
missiles from targeting the jet.
U.S. officials familiar with the case said the compromise of the B-2
technology is extremely damaging because it will give China key secrets
on the bomber.
A defense official said the case highlights China's intelligence efforts
to counter key weapons systems that give the United States strategic
advantages over Chinese forces. "The B-2 is at the head of the list of
their intelligence targets," said the official.
The Pentagon recently completed a major upgrade of bomber storage
facilities on the Pacific island of Guam as part of a new strategy
designed to position forces in Asia for a swift defeat of China in a
B-2 bombers are regularly deployed for short periods of time on Guam as
part of what the Pentagon is calling its "hedge" strategy to be ready to
deal with a Chinese threat in the future.
According to the indictment, Mr. Gowadia, who lives on an estate on the
island of Maui, conspired with two men, Tommy Wong and Henri Nyo, to
sell the technology.
Mr. Wong was identified in court papers as an official of the Chinese
Foreign Experts Bureau who met the other men during meetings in Chengdu,
China. The bureau is a center that conducts "research and development of
Chinese fighter aircraft and cruise missiles."
During the six visits, Mr. Gowadia was there "for the specific purpose
of assisting the [People's Republic of China] in designing, testing and
analyzing a low observable exhaust nozzle ... for a PRC cruise missile,"
the indictment said.
In the earlier indictment, Mr. Gowadia was quoted as telling
investigators that he "disclosed classified information and material
both verbally and in papers, computer presentations, letters and other
methods to individuals in foreign countries with the knowledge that
information was classified."
"The reason I disclosed this classified information was to establish the
technological credibility with the potential customers for future
business," he said. "I wanted to help these countries to further their
self aircraft protection systems. My personal gain would be business."
Mr. Gowadia has pleaded not guilty to the charges and his son, Ashton
Gowadia, told the Honolulu Star-Bulletin that the charges against his
father are false. A trial is scheduled for July.
Copyright 2006 News World Communications, Inc. All rights reserved.
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