Lawmaker Worried U.S. Tech Could End Up in Chinese Jets

In September, sister site DODBuzz published a post highlighting concerns that business partnerships between Western aerospace firms and Chinese aviation companies might be handing China "a 100 piece puzzle with 90 of the pieces already assembled" as it seeks to develop advanced military equipment.

Last month, a draft version of the US-China Economic and Security Commission's annual report on China was reported to have said pretty much the same thing.

Then, on Oct. 17, Virginia Congressman Randy Forbes (R) wrote Defense Secretary Leon Panetta urging him to investigate a partnership between U.S. defense giant GE and China's AVIC aviation company aimed at building civil integrated modular avionics systems based on those that were first developed for the F-22 Raptor and the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

“Given [the technology’s] military origin, I am deeply concerned, once in [China], it will wind up aiding the military aviation programs of the People's Liberation Army Air Force, which is even now developing its J-20 fifth-generation fighter that appears intended to threaten U.S. air supremacy in East Asia,” reads Forbes’ letter to Panetta.

This is a fascinating issue. Western companies are being forced to look east as Asia's economic power grows. Still, could they be aiding a future rival?

Click through the jump to read the actual letter and see where Forbes quotes Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner as saying that China is enabling the "systematic stealing" of western intellectual property:

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