As the Pentagon struggles to develop its own hypersonic missile capability, China's program is far more advanced -- by years -- and that is thanks in large part to the use of specialized technology obtained from firms funded by the Department of Defense, an explosive new report claims.
"American firms funded by the Pentagon are selling their technology to Chinese companies involved in hypersonic missiles, according to a new analysis," reported the UK's Daily Mail. "Under U.S. law, the sale of American products to China is banned if there is knowledge or even reasonable suspicion that they will be used for developing a missile."
However, the Washington Post, in a Monday report, noted that it had uncovered several examples of American firms supplying Chinese companies and operations with equipment and/or software, often through the use of middlemen.
The paper's report notes:
Military research groups at the leading edge of China’s hypersonics and missile programs — many on a U.S. export blacklist — are purchasing a range of specialized American technology, including products developed by firms that have received millions of dollars in grants and contracts from the Pentagon, a Washington Post investigation has found.
The advanced software products are acquired by these military organizations through private Chinese firms that sell them ... despite U.S. export controls designed to prevent sales or resales to foreign entities deemed a threat to U.S. national security, the investigation shows.
Scientists who work in the sprawling network of Chinese military research academies and the companies that aid them said in interviews that American technology — such as highly specialized aeronautical engineering software — fills critical gaps in domestic technology and is key to advances in Chinese weaponry.
“In this case, the American technology is superior — we can’t do certain things without foreign technology,” noted one Chinese scientist who is currently working in a lab at a research university where testing for hypersonic vehicles is conducted. "There isn't the same technical foundation."
The Post went on to report that some U.S. companies whose products are being obtained by Chinese military researchers have also received taxpayer-funded grants from the Pentagon to design and produce cutting-edge tech, according to a federal grant program database. So in effect, the DoD is currently subsidizing China's military technology advances.
“It’s very disturbing because the bottom line is that technology that can be used for military hypersonics was funded by U.S. taxpayers, through the U.S. government, and ended up in China,” Iain Boyd, director of the Center for National Security Initiatives at the University of Colorado at Boulder, told the Post. His institution engages in computational research on hypersonic missiles.
The Post noted further that its reporters "mapped more than 300 sales since 2019 of U.S.-origin technology to dozens of entities involved in China’s hypersonics or missile programs by analyzing contract solicitation and award documents issued by the groups, as well as speaking to six Chinese scientists working in military labs and universities who described almost unfettered access to American technology with applications in the design and testing of missiles."
Designing and testing hypersonic weapons is expensive and time-consuming. Solving gravitational, flight and other issues require the means to figure out advanced physics problems related to missile flight. But by utilizing American software, the Chinese scientists said, Beijing's military has managed to trim years off research and development. Not only that, but the U.S. technology China is obtaining related to hypersonics is also useful in other areas where the two countries compete, such as in commercial aerospace.
The Chinese have been stealing (or buying) U.S. military technology since the days Bill Clinton was roaming around the White House. Were it not for that, Beijing's military would still be large, but only a fraction as capable as it now is.