Chinese Hackers Accessed U.S. Weapons Systems Designs


According to the Washington Post's Ellen Nakashima, a report recently prepared for the Pentagon states that designs for more than two dozen of America's most sensitive advanced weapons systems have been compromised by Chinese hackers.

Nakashima reports that the compromised designs include those for the PAC-3 Patriot missile system, the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile defense system, the Navy's Aegis system, the F/A-18 fighter jet, the V-22 Osprey, the Black Hawk helicopter, the Littoral Combat Ship, and the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

Shown the list of compromised designs, Mark Stokes, executive director of the Project 2049 Institute, told Nakashima, "That's staggering. These are all very critical weapons systems, critical to our national security. When I hear this in totality, it's breathtaking."

"If they got into the combat systems, it enables them to understand it to be able to jam it or otherwise disable it," Straus Military Reform Project director Winslow T. Wheeler told Nakashima. "If they've got into the basic algorithms for the missile and how they behave, somebody better get out a clean piece of paper and start to design all over again."

While the Defense Science Board didn't accuse China of stealing the designs, Nakashima reports, senior military and industry officials say the vast majority were part of a growing Chinese espionage campaign targeting U.S. defense contractors and government agencies.

A Pentagon spokesman told Nakashima by e-mail, "The Department of Defense has growing concerns about the global threat to economic and national security from persistent cyber-intrusions aimed at the theft of intellectual property, trade secrets and commercial data, which threatens the competitive edge of U.S. businesses like those in the Defense Industrial Base."