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back to article China denies US chopper tech espionage claim

The Chinese government has hit back at claims that technology used in its first fleet of attack helicopters was illegally sold to it by a US defence contractor. In a well-publicised case in the States, United Technologies and its two subsidiaries Pratt & Whitney Canada (PWC) and Hamilton Sundstrand admitted earlier this month in …

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Trollface

They would never do that, would they?

China, spying on the rest of the world?

Would they?

Wooouuld theeeeeey?

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Anonymous Coward

makes a change

The thought of china innovating that is.

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Anonymous Coward

You Really think they would use international software in something as basic and critical as engine control?

You think they don't have enough experts in this to write their own software & design their own engines?

Hmm yes I am building a new attack helicopter, sure I'll use US software.... we're the USA's closest ally (what a laugh) and I wouldn't use US software if I was designing our own attack helicopter... I would ensure its all done in house by British experts...

I am they buy/steal technology, but in something that is military, I suspect at the most they would use that tech as a reference point they can learn from, not copy 100%

And personally I would expect the Chinese to be spying on its rivals, WE do it, no point trying to deny it... I would be worried if we didn't have spies in the US & China keeping tabs on both their military programs...

Personally I think we need to buddy up a bit more the China, get much closer ties, then we can help influence them where needed.. I.E. push against the oppression, but by offering carrots not sticks...

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Anonymous Coward

Buddy huh?

"Personally I think we need to buddy up a bit more the China, get much closer ties, then we can help influence them where needed.. I.E. push against the oppression, but by offering carrots not sticks..."

You're British. You can never be buddies with the Chinese. Look up the opium wars. The results defined the Chinese mindset towards you. 150-180 years is not long enough for them to forget just for your convenience. Long term thinking is not for fools.

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Anonymous Coward

Apparently you have no idea how such software -- and indeed any software that must ultimately deal with real-time data such as system condition/failures, engine performance, environmental conditions, weight, etc. -- is developed. Here's a hint: it is time consuming and involves a lot of field testing/feedback.

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Anonymous Coward

How come "China has illegally used western IP to aid its military development" ?

I doubt there are any laws in China which correspond to the US's strategic export restrictions. If Pratt & Whitney broke the law in conforming to the Chinese statement of requirements then it is entirely their problem.

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Coffee/keyboard

Re: any laws in China which correspond to the US's strategic export restrictions?

They should voluntarily force such laws upon themselves, restricting their imports in order for USA to keep feeling safe, or else.

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Anonymous Coward

I'm confused..

Given that the Americans have screwed up their economy so badly that most of the country is already owned by the Chinese, aren't the latter simply using what is theirs already anyway?

Just curious (and in an evil mood, evidently).

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Re: I'm confused..

Country or debit ? You do know that the US citizens own almost 3/4 of all US debit.

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WTF?

Amazing

Why resort to espionage and hacking to steal military technology from your rivals, when you can just buy it from one of their contractors?

As Lenin once said, "The capitalists will sell us the rope with which we will hang them".

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FAIL

Espionage??

"illegally used western IP" is a bit of a stretch. This was NOT violation of Intellectual Property (the IP belonged to Pratt and Whitney who sold them the tech), and it certainly wasn't espionage (again, they paid the rightful owners for the technology). In fact, China really didn't break any international or US laws, the most it can be accused of is inducing / encouraging P&W to break US law.

What's really happening here is (1) corporate greed - P&W wanted to make some money and didn't give a rat's arse that they're supplying advanced military technology to the US's principal international rival

(2) It's a huge corporation that's part of the military-industrial complex, so it got off with a slap of the wrist. If it was an individual selling stuff to China you can bet your bottom dollar that the accusation would be treason and the individual(s) concerned would be looking at life imprisonment in high-security conditions. Because it's a big corporate it gets away with a fine equivalent to their profit on maybe a dozen helicopters + lifetime maintenance sold to the US military.

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Devil

Re: Because it's a big corporate it gets away with a fine equivalent to their profit

You know, $75 million fine for P&W&Co is too cheap IMNSHO. I'd fine them for at least $2 billions for such a treason (by "them" I mean those who'd survive concentration camps).

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Don't worry...

I'm sure they did something good with the illegally gained funds...

Is the US still funding the Contras?

<American Dad><sing>Ollllli North</sing></American Dad>

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All your IP are belong to us

"We do not spy."

They would say that, wouldn't they.

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Anonymous Coward

Inb4 trojan horse.

US: For shame Pratt & Whitney, (wink, nod) For shame!

P&W: Yes, we've been (giggle) naughty and we're very sorry.

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Happy

Another scenario..

The chinese DID illegally buy the helicopters, but found an embarrasingly large number of components were stamped "Made in China".

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FAIL

Both views probably true

I'm sure that Chinese helicopter engine developers take any chance they can to look at innovations from other countries, and then they develop their own independent version based on many sources plus their own innovation because no developer would ever use another developer's software.

The U.S. military is ridiculously over-protective in classifying things as sensitive or secret when they are nothing of the sort., so it's difficult to take them seriously in cases like this. We sometimes deliver software developed for commercial purposes to them, they slap a comment header on it and it becomes "classified". Then we can't officially use it again until we discover it posted on Wikileaks.

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Anonymous Coward

The whole thing is a cover story...

Speculation: The software is from the USA, and includes modules written by some secret three-letter outfit within the US government. The $75M fine is basically a 'credibility item' to reassure the Chinese that their software isn't riddled with such malware. All that's left for us to figure out is how the malware in the FADEC gets triggered under US control. With the 429 bus architecture, that detail is probably not as difficult as one might assume. Some subtle jiggery-pokery with the GPS data, and Chinese attack helicopters start failling from the sky.

Or perhaps paragraph 1 (above) is a plant by some other three-letter outfit and is intended to cause the Chinese to spend millions tearing the systems apart in search of non-existent subtly hidden malware. A form of financial and project vandalism.

Or perhaps paragraph 2 is intended to sow the seeds of doubt, thus reinstating the original negarious purpose.

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Anonymous Coward

Nefarious

Typo - nefarious.

Bloody spillchucker constantly annoys, and then lets typos through without comment.

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Unhappy

A comparatively small fine won't stop this

US defense firms have an incentive to help advance defense technology in potential US adversaries. Then the congressmen in their pockets can talk about how we have to spend billions on updated tech to counter the threat posed by the transferred technology. Lather, rinse, repeat.

The only thing that would be meaningful would that rather than a fine, an offending firm is banned from new US government contracts (military or not) for a few years. Making sure to include any firms that own a controlling interest, or that they own a controlling interest in, so that the big boys can't just have one of their subsidaries do the dirty work for them.

I'm sure if this was proposed to congress, the defense lobbyists would immediately have the talking points ready about how this would risk setting back our defensive capabilities by years, increase cost by reducing competitive bids due to nonparticipation by banned firms, and could cost tens of thousands of jobs at a time when the economy can least afford it, and that insignificant fines (that can be looked at as a cost of doing business) should remain the penalty.

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FAIL

You posed the question, Phil :

«So who do we believe? A federal court and a shamed defence contractor hit with a $75m fine, or the Chinese government?» Any reason to prefer the account of one of the two parties to this dispute to that of the other - aside from your evident antipathy for China ? Or do you mean that «federal court[s] and [...] shamed defence contractor[s]» would never lie - so long as they are located in the US ? Rather than asking a rhetorical question, you might want to try doing some journalism for a change and investigating the matter sufficiently so that you can provide a credible answer to a serious query....

Henri

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