Report: U.S. Weapons System Designs Breached by Chinese Cyber Attacks

Report: U.S. Weapons System Designs Breached by Chinese Cyber Attacks

According to a report prepared for the Pentagon and the defense industry, US weapons systems have been infiltrated by Chinese hackers.  “More than two dozen major weapons systems whose designs were breached were programs critical to U.S. missile defenses and combat aircraft and ships, according to a previously undisclosed section of a confidential report prepared for Pentagon leaders by the Defense Science Board.”

Gaining access to these systems could not only accelerate the development of Chinese weapon systems, but also cripple our military advantage in the future. The Defense Science Board, an advisory board of civilian and government experts, did not state that the Chinese stole the weapons information and designs. But officials with knowledge of the breaches reported the intrusions were part of a larger campaign by the Chinese against the US defense systems.

A report in January warned that the US and the Pentagon is not prepared to protect against a full scale cyber attack. The Washington Post was given a copy of the confidential report listing all of the weapons systems that were compromised.

The designs included those for the advanced Patriot missile system, known as PAC-3; an Army system for shooting down ballistic missiles, known as the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD; and the Navy’s Aegis ballistic-missile defense system.Also identified in the report are vital combat aircraft and ships, including the F/A-18 fighter jet, the V-22 Osprey, the Black Hawk helicopter and the Navy’s new Littoral Combat Ship, which is designed to patrol waters close to shore.Also on the list is the most expensive weapons system ever built — the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, which is on track to cost about $1.4 trillion. The 2007 hack of that project was reported previously. 

In March of this year, National Security Adviser Tom Donilon gave a speech instructing China to “control it’s cyberactivity.”  But the US addressed this issue as well in a four hour private meeting a year ago. “The officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe a closed meeting, said senior U.S. defense and diplomatic officials presented the Chinese with case studies detailing the evidence of major intrusions into U.S. companies, including defense contractors.”

The Chinese deny they conduct cyber-espionage. President Obama will meet with President Xi Jinping next month in California and is expected to address the issue.

A senior military official stated  “This is billions of dollars of combat advantage for China. They’ve just saved themselves 25 years of research and development. It’s nuts.”


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