US Air Force F-35A Lightning II aircraft fly in formation over Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., on May 14. / Master Sgt. John R. Nimmo Sr./US Air Force
May. 28, 2013 - By DOUG STANGLIN USA Today - Defense News
Chinese hackers have gained access to the designs of many of the nation’s most sensitive advanced weapons systems, according to a report prepared for the Defense Department and government and defense industry officials,The Washington Post reported Tuesday.
The compromised weapons designs include, among others, advanced Patriot missile system, the Navy’s Aegis ballistic missile defense systems, the F/A-18 fighter jet, the V-22 Osprey, the Black Hawk helicopter and the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.
The confidential report was prepared by the Defense Science Board, a senior advisory group of government and civilian experts.
It does not accuse the Chinese of stealing the designs but says that the designs of more than two dozen systems were compromised, the Post reported.
The report comes a month before President Obama will meet with visiting Chinese President Xi Jinping in California. It also coincides with reports in the Australian media that Chinese hackers had allegedly stolen blueprints for Australian’s new spy headquarters.
An alleged breach of U.S. systems was noted in a public report issued by the advisory panel in January, but the section of the report listing the compromised weapons system remained classified until Tuesday. The public version had warned that the Pentagon is unprepared to counter a full-scale cyber-conflict.
The Chinese government has insisted that it does not conduct cyber-espionage on U.S. agencies or companies, and government spokesmen often complain that Beijing is a target of U.S. cyberattacks, the Post noted.