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The Military China Government United States Politics Technology

Pakistan Lets China View US Stealth Technology 297

Oswald McWeany writes "Tensions between the U.S. and Pakistan have moved up a notch in light of news that Pakistan allowed China to examine the downed stealth helicopter used in the operation to kill Osama bin Laden. Pakistan also provided Chinese intelligence with samples of the 'stealth skin.' 'Pakistan enjoys a close relationship with China, which is a major investor in telecommunications, ports and infrastructure in the country.'"
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Pakistan Lets China View US Stealth Technology

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  • No surprise. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by wsxyz ( 543068 ) on Monday August 15, 2011 @05:30PM (#37099764)
    I would say that's just what you get for leaving your stuff in someone else's house.
    I'm sure this wasn't really a surprise to the US. That's why the seals spent valuable time doing their best to destroy the helicopter.
    • Re:No surprise. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by grimmjeeper ( 2301232 ) on Monday August 15, 2011 @05:44PM (#37099960) Homepage

      I'm sure the SEALs destroyed the stuff that really matters. Stealth technology is not new. China has already started testing their own prototype of a stealth plane []. Will the Chinese learn something from what was left behind? Maybe. Maybe not.

      I suspect that if this technology was so uber-secret, we would have saturated the place with enough ordinance to blow it into dust. So either it's not so terribly secret (the SEALs destroying what needed to be destroyed) or there was a plan to leave it behind specifically to mislead. Either way, I'd suggest this is a tempest in a teacup.

      • Re:No surprise. (Score:5, Interesting)

        by ElectricTurtle ( 1171201 ) on Monday August 15, 2011 @05:54PM (#37100084)
        Your surmise is correct. That's what happened when the Chinese embassy was 'accidentally' bombed during the conflict in the Balkans. A stealth aircraft had recently been shot down and the Chinese were known to have collected a ton of parts from the wreckage, and they were being held in the embassy awaiting extraction to China. Whoops, a whole ton of precision guided ordnance accidentally wiped it out. Fancy that.
        • by mirix ( 1649853 )

          The way I remember it, the Russians got the skin of the plane for analysis, though.

          Part of the plane is in the museum just outside Belgrade, though.

        • by Xest ( 935314 )

          I hadn't heard about this, but was intrigued to know more, so I Googled it:



          "five US JDAM bombs hit the People's Republic of China embassy in the Belgrade district of New Belgrade"

          Five JDAMs? well they certainly didn't fuck around did they.

          As you say, it seems quite clear what it was really about:

          "Central Intelligence Agency director George Tenet testified before a congressional committee that the bombing was the only on

      • Yes, they will learn what shape to fabricate a helicopter stealth rotor in in order to build their own stealth aircraft or to test their high-power radar. Unless, of course, they already have the plans, which is entirely possible because China seems to routinely steal US Stealth plans (I've heard this from nonclassified sources and don't know if it's true but suspect there's at least some truth to it). AFAIK, we have much better sigint but they have much better cyber offensive units. I'm not sure how hu

      • So either it's not so terribly secret ...

        I doubt that there's much in the way of real secrets that the US has that the chinese and every other country with a significant ethnic presence in the USA don't already know about. Having samples and knowing its capabilities (and what its weakness are) is one thing - needing to use it yourself and developing the ability to produce it is another.

        After all, it's not as if the chinese feel threatened by american military might.

      • by Sir_Sri ( 199544 )

        I'm sure the SEALS *tried* to destroy the stuff that really matters. The crew of that EP3 that landed on Hainan island tried to do that too, and the NSA had to rewrite and operating system from scratch given how successful they were.

        Either way though, once you use the technology, you know the risk is out there that it's going to be captured and or partially captured. No weapon system should be so valuable you cannot risk it being lost battle.

      • The US probably does a good job limiting the loss of the latest stealth technology. The stealth UAVs flying around Pakistan do not have the latest stealth to minimize the risk of inadvertent technology transfers.
        I'm sure that the stealth technology on the chopper was intentionally a generation old as well.

        In any event, the largest innovations in aircraft stealth is not in materials science but rather minimizing the radar cross section of jet exhaust intakes and vents. Intakes can be modified with sharktooth

    • Then again when you're harboring a felon in your basement "OMG how did he get there?" and your uncle is a cop and paying your rent, best not to sell one of the cop's guns accidentally left behind during the bust on ebay .

    • On the other hand, this is still light years ahead of the Taliban and insurgents we're going to be fighting. If we get into a war with China, the stealthiness of our helicopters is not what I'm going to be concerned about to be honest.

      For that matter, who is going to pay for said war on China? Chinese creditors? Someone else with money that would not learn from history? "Loan money to the US for a war on China? Sure, they've only declared war on one of the people who loaned them massive amounts of m
  • It's useless without the formula for the secret serum! It'll make a nice paperweight though...
  • by CHK6 ( 583097 ) on Monday August 15, 2011 @05:33PM (#37099812)
    {tongue and check}Chinese engineers were shocked to learn that many of the components uncovered from the wreckage were stamped with "Made in China."
  • Red Herring? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Is it possible that the US left that helicopter there in order to mislead interested parties on stealth countermeasures and development?

    Might that helicopter be, in essence, a doomed spy?

    • Is it possible that the US left that helicopter there in order to mislead interested parties on stealth countermeasures and development?

      Might that helicopter be, in essence, a doomed spy?

      Not really, no. This was a raid against Osama. They would have gone with the simplest and most effective plan. Get in. Kill Osama. Gather hardware. Get out before Pakistan shows up.

      Besides, they would not have wanted to use stealth tech that didn't work, assuming they have tech that did. It would be a career-ender for whoever came up with the idea if Pakistan detected it.

  • No shit, sherlock? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by NeutronCowboy ( 896098 ) on Monday August 15, 2011 @05:35PM (#37099830)

    I'm not sure why anyone didn't see this coming.... I was actually surprised they didn't send some locals to clean up the chopper rests. Either that, or it's really not that advanced. Radar-reducing skins are known, and the shape didn't seem that out of the ordinary. Oh look, a cover over the tail rotor to reduce radar signature. The biggest deal would be the electronics. I can only hope they were reduced to dust.

    • Important electronics would have been fused into oblivion long before they dropped the thermal charges in. At least, if everyone did their job they should be.

    • The avionics and encryption devices were destroyed. Upon crashing, the pilots used a specially-provided hammer to smash the electronics, then the SEALs (who are experts with explosives, as their initial course is Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training) blew up the avionics equipment, encryption boxes, the engine cases, probably while walking away casually from the chopper as explosions ensued.

  • by couchslug ( 175151 ) on Monday August 15, 2011 @05:35PM (#37099840)

    The "Fundamental" law of religion is that the more Fundmentalist one is the more literally religious one is.

    Pakistan was founded as a Muslim state, and it is not a reasonable expectation for it to work against Islam in Afghanistan by supporting the heretical idea of secular government. The only reason Islamabad gave the US the time of day in the past was to obtain arms to use against its mortal enemy India which was buddies with the Soviets during the Cold War.

    The Cold War is finished, and Islamabad has everything to gain from a Talibanistan protecting its flank so it can prepare for war with India.
    As Uncle Sugar wises up under pressure, Islamabad must suck up to China.

    India would be wise to make buddies with the US after the US-Pak relationship collapses. If it comes to war, US assets could help India take out Pak nukes which are a menace to civilization. China would have no interest in intervention since its own Muslims are a problem more easily dealt with if Pakistan becomes an ashtray.

    • They have the nuclear technology agreements and other cooperative agreements. It's all good. China, Iran, N. Korea are the REAL future threats -- and India just so happens to be stuck in the middle.
      • by h4rr4r ( 612664 )

        N Korea is only a threat to themselves really. Sure they could give someone a bloody nose, but they would be only sealing their own fate.

        • N Korea is only a threat to themselves really. Sure they could give someone a bloody nose, but they would be only sealing their own fate.

          The people of Seoul (the nose you speak of) might disagree.

    • Pakistan is courting China not just for ongoing material support but as a real and dedicated regional ally against India. China has nearly as bad a relationship with India as Pakistan does, because just as Pakistan has Kashmir in dispute, China has Arunchal Pradesh in dispute. China is merely biding its time to make the most of a future circumstance where it could annex all the territory it has disputed with India without necessarily catalyzing a long term conflict and/or unified international military back
  • I mean, the US did come in on a raid and killed a resident of a sovereign nation. I'm not sure how much Pakistan knew ahead of time; between information leaks in the Pakistan chain of command, and the need for plausible deniability to a populace that doesn't love the US, we will never know.

    And didn't they buy the F117 Nighthawk wings that the Yugoslavs shot down? Again, this new sale is possibly disturbing, but not surprising.

  • Which is why (Score:3, Interesting)

    by WindBourne ( 631190 ) on Monday August 15, 2011 @05:40PM (#37099920) Journal
    Pakistan's and America's relationship is faltering. The fact is, that pakistan is harboring terrorists PURPOSELY.

    To be honest, part of the issues belong to us. W/neo-cons gave India access to 'civil' nuke tech, but not to pakistan. Once we opened that up, we basically told pakistan that we did not trust them. Of course, that was true. We don't. And we are helping what they consider their mortal enemy (even though it is also their 'brother').
    • We will never really trust Pakistan--not until the women of Pakistan are treated as equals, the military hasn't taken over the government in recent history, and a Jew can walk around the place without facing discrimination. The biggest thing it has going for it is a fairly reputable judiciary and an active bar that cares about things like military takeovers of the government. In time, that may lead to more open-mindedness and reform. But it may take another century.

  • by SoTerrified ( 660807 ) on Monday August 15, 2011 @05:44PM (#37099968)

    Yay! Cheap knock-off stealth choppers for everyone!!

  • Caveats (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jdkramar ( 803337 ) on Monday August 15, 2011 @05:54PM (#37100088)
    TFA is full of caveats. How is something that is riddled with caveats (and therefore not facts) considered news?
    • "Pakistan’s intelligence service probably allowed Chinese military engineers"
    • "American spy agencies have concluded that it is likely that Chinese engineers"
    • ..yeah, I was just thinking to myself, "Here comes another tissue-thin excuse to invade/attack someone". We're already spread way too thin, we can't afford to keep making war on whoever.
  • by Device666 ( 901563 ) on Monday August 15, 2011 @06:08PM (#37100210)
    It's China's soft diplomacy backed by hard currency (artificially weakened) versus US hard diplomacy by weak currency (artificially pimped and by count on the advantage of world reserve currency and unrivaled military and technological advance). But it's working for China.

    China's huge dollar position is both it's strength as it's weakness, as value deteriorates. China is trying to put their money in foreign investment and soft diplomacy to gain influence in Africa, weak economies of some European countries (for example Greece) and now also Pakistan, openly, without any worries knowing it is crossing US interest. Outsourcing productivity is followed by knowledge, science and technology, in contrast with popular belief that such follow up doesn't occur. It's starts with shameless copying is the prerequisite of understanding and improvement, this is the present case for China much as it was for Japan in the past. With the only difference that it is maybe even more easy for Chinese companies, as the state is shareholder. The Chinese does business with everyone, not asking too many questions or human right issues. For those who not know, China has been most of her existence been the world power state. They have a great history in diplomatic cases.
    • by poity ( 465672 )

      That doesn't seem like the correct assessment, your post has too many stereotypes trying to qualify themselves as facts, though I do agree somewhat with the ending that China historically tends to tread lightly outside of her backyard (inside is another story). US and China both rely heavily on soft diplomacy, so the soft/hard dichotomy has no bearing here. It seems the outcome we see here is more due to the fact that Pakistan shares more common goals with China than with the US -- primarily among them, the

    • Chinese diplomacy in Africa, OTOH, is advantageous to consumers worldwide.
      Western governments must stay away for obvious ("Blackhawk Down") reasons, so I argue we are better off letting other countries play in that particular sandbox.

      Let the Chinese have at it. They are tough and smart enough to cut deals to extract resources the civilized world must have from Africa and aren't hobbled by trying to apply alien ethical constructs to tribal groups who don't care for the preaching of foreigners.

      The US doesn't

  • to India. Let Pakistan chew on that prospect, if they think it's cool to harbor our arch enemies and give our secrets away to arch-enemies in the making.

    And before some Poindexter points out, "but but but most of the supplies for our forces in Afghanistan pass through Pakistan!" I'll say it's high time to pull our forces out of that godforsaken place. We got bin Laden. The Taliban are reduced to one among many warlord factions. The status quo ante has been achieved. Miller time.

    • Strongly agree. India is civilized compared to Pakistan, which has no hope for the future and will only become more Jihadist.

      India is large enough to survive a nuclear exchange and still have enough troops and resources to finish Pakistan off completely.

      Pakistan is the next North Korea. Contain it while being prepared to destroy it if that becomes necessary.

  • by D. Book ( 534411 ) on Monday August 15, 2011 @07:41PM (#37101028)

    The NYT and BBC prefaced their stories with the qualifiers "probably" and "may have", while these disappeared from the Slashdot summary. The reports may well turn out to be true, but the summary is assigning a level of certainty about the claims that does not yet exist.

    Acceptance of this sort of distortion seems to have become so routine in Slashdot's selection of story submissions, it sometimes feels a bit like reading the Daily Mail.

  • but, but, but... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by slick7 ( 1703596 ) on Monday August 15, 2011 @10:11PM (#37102224)
    They're our friends! We need to up the payments to them so they know we mean it.
    The Corporate states of America ran Russia out of money, now they're doing the same to US.
    Long live the banksters! May they fly like the American flag, hanging from a pole.
  • by nimbius ( 983462 )
    probably, may have, and no direct source quoted...sounds like someone in the department of defense is trying to justify their budget.

Air is water with holes in it.