US aerospace & engineering company Honeywell has been fined $13 million by the State Department for allegedly leaking technical details of major military equipment such as F-35 Lightning II, F-22 Raptor, B-1 Bomber to China and other countries.
The company has been accused of violating the Arms Export Control Act (AECA), and the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR).
Honeywell was found to be indulged in unauthorized “exports and retransfers of ITAR-controlled technical data that contained engineering prints showing dimensions, geometries, and layouts for manufacturing castings and finished parts for multiple aircraft, gas turbine engines, and military electronics to and/or within Canada, Ireland, Mexico, the People’s Republic of China, and Taiwan,” according to the US Government.
In the claimed “settlement”, the company is required to pay $13 million in civil penalties and other things, $5 million of which was immediately suspended on the condition that Honeywell used it towards “remedial compliance measures”.
The US government, however, chose to be a little lenient with the company as it ‘voluntarily’ disclosed the violations to the state department.
The development assumes significance given that the West, especially the US, has accused China of industrial espionage in the past.
The leaked “engineering drawings” showing technical data pertained to America’s most expensive fighter jet F-35 Lightning II besides the F-22 Raptor, B-1 Lancer Strategic Bomber, C-130 Transport Aircraft, A-7H Corsair, A-10 Warthog, AH-64D Apache Longbow, M1A1 main battle tank, Tomahawk cruise missile, and T55 turboshaft engine used in CH-47 Chinook and its variants are even used in the latest SB-1 Defiant.
The latest data leak to China, even when its spies have been previously apprehended by authorities for stealing confidential data from American companies, raises a serious concern — even though it’s uncovered voluntarily or involuntarily.
However, the company specified that the export didn’t contain information about classified parts. “The issues Honeywell reported involved technology that was assessed as having no impact on national security and is commercially available throughout the world,” the company said in a statement. “No detailed manufacturing or engineering expertise was shared.”
However, the State Department said it found the case to be harmful to American defense & security. “The U.S. Government reviewed copies of the 71 drawings and determined that exports to and retransfers in the PRC of drawings for certain parts and components for the engine platforms for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, B-1B Lancer Long-Range Strategic Bomber, and the F-22 Fighter Aircraft harmed U.S. national security.”
These findings were revealed by the company back in 2016 when Honeywell disclosed it to the State Department. The US Government stated that “Honeywell ultimately identified 71 ITAR-controlled drawings that between July 2011 and October 2015 it had exported without authorization,” in a disclosure it voluntarily made in 2016.
Two years later in 2018, Honeywell acknowledged another set of unapproved exports “that were similar to the violations disclosed in the first voluntary disclosure,” according to the State Department.