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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

China got strategic drone tech from grad student in Tennessee spy case

China obtained valuable U.S. defense technology, including technology for use in unmanned aerial vehicles, through a spy case involving a Chinese graduate student in Tennessee.

The compromised technology included plasma actuators for a munitions-type UAV or drone, a key U.S. strategic weapon being used in the war on terrorism.

China is working on developing armed drones as part of its asymmetric warfare capabilities.

Also In This Edition

J. Reece Roth, a retired University of Tennessee professor, was convicted Sept. 3 of illegally exporting military technical information relating to plasma technology and designed to be deployed on the wings of drones operating as a weapons or surveillance systems.

Two Americans were involved in transmitting the export-controlled defense technology, including U.S. Air Force know-how for armed UAVs.

The technical data and information was developed through a U.S. Air Force R&D contract.

The U.S. military leads the world in the use of drones. In Yemen, a Predator UAV was recently used to attack and kill an al Qaeda terrorist as he traveled in a car.

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