US administration often complaints that China is stealing intellectual property from companies in the United States
Recently a picture of a Chinese fighter jet has been publicized on social media featuring key technology systems developed for the American F-35.
Distributed Aperture System (DAS) is a technology that apparently originated in the United States was supposed to be one of the F-35’s most important sensors. DAS has been billed by advocates as a revolutionary capability allowing a pilot to see exactly what’s going on 360 degrees around the aircraft — all but eliminating blind spots.
If you’ve ever read a report saying that the F-35 helmet lets the pilot see through the bottom of the aircraft, that functionality is made possible by DAS. If the latest images suggest anything, now the Chengdu J-20 has a comparable DAS functionality as well.
“The camera lens with a relatively large optical aperture in the nose comes with a reddish-purple plating/coasting,” says the posting on the China-based Chaoji Da Benying website, as reported by the Washington Times. The post, which included four pictures of the J-20 with what looks like a fresh coat of paint, noted that “it very much resembles the F-35’s AN/AAQ-3 7 DAS.”
The F-35’s DAS, however, has been one of the driving factors behind why the jet has a low availability rate to conduct missions, Breaking Defense reported in June 2018.
In an attempt to keep costs down on the DAS component of the F-35 project, prime F-35 contractor Lockheed Martin ditched its arrangement with Northrop Grumman. Raytheon became the new subcontractor for the DAS system, effectively swiping away all of Northrop’s business on that part of the F-35 project.”It’s a major upset,” Richard Aboulafia of the Teal Group told Breaking Defense last June, adding that “from a revenue standpoint, F-35 remains almost the only game in town.”
The Washington Times report added that a second technology used by US aircraft, the Universal Water Activated Release System (UWARS), is also featured prominently on the photo of the J-20. UWARS helps automatically eject pilots from the jets if they hit seawater. “Getting our wish fulfilled… The improved details show that our J-20 is finally going to reveal its majesty on the open sea,” the anonymous Chinese poster said.
It’s not clear whether either of the technologies has been stolen from US government agencies or US defense contractors. US officials insist China has been stealing American technology for decades.
Critics have previously noted that the Chengdu J-20 is all but a mirror copy of Lockheed Martin’s F-22, an air superiority aircraft that is no longer in production.
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