Monday, August 15, 2011

U.S. Fears - Pakistan and China

Only some hours ago, German National TV - Channel 1 had the news that U.S. authorities accuse Pakistan of letting Chinese specialists take a closer look at the debris of one "Black Hawk" helicopter that crashed during the Bin-Laden operation in Abottabad. As the helicopter had been equipped with latest stealth technology, this seemed to be a good opportunity to spy on U.S. stealth research. It was even propagated that those Chinese experts took some material with them.

Now, there are two items to be distinguished. First are the individual construction features of the Black Hawk that surprised even some U.S. pilots who were trained on this type. "There are parts added, we never saw before", was their comment after photos of the helicopter's rear part had been published one day after the Bin-Laden operation. Now, this item of "stealth" technology might be related to sound absorption or better propelling performance and would present a real danger to U.S. defence security only then when a fully equipped and undamaged helicopter would fall into the hands of the Chinese. Even though there might be strong hints at what U.S. engineers are trying to achieve with all those additional rotors, it might turn out that Chinese engineers are having the same on their minds. Such, there should be no practical benefit to the Chinese at all, even if they carried away all the undestroyed parts of the Black Hawk but which was not the case as far as we know.

The second item might be more serious as it concerns real state of the art technology. Some debris of the helicopter's outer coating might lead Chinese scientists to the strategy, U.S. stealth research is trying to reach its goal. As there is more than one way to approach this goal of rejecting treacherous electromagnetic emission from all kinds of sophisticated military equipment by using metamaterial coatings, the Chinese might get some basic information. Nevertheless, they would be unable to "rebuild" that kind of metamaterial within a reasonable time without knowing how to exactly proceed. In fact, material design and production technology seem to be a very complicated subject which requires much more information than a smaller or greater piece of stealth coating could ever provide. Even more, stealth technology is steadily being developed for any kind of electromagnetic radiation and steadily making progress which makes it even harder for any spy to deliver reliable information that remains up to date long enough while the next series of U.S. stealth fighters is already being planned.

By the way, it should be remembered that in January 2011, a 66-year old U.S. engineer of Indian extraction already became known for having sold U.S. stealth technology for the B-2 bomber to the Chinese and being rewarded by them with 110.000 U.S. dollars hard cash. In comparison to such kind of scandal, the Abottabad proceedings are only of minor importance. All they are showing is an increasing tension between U.S. and Pakistani authorities and a steady mistrust towards Chinese efforts to modernize their armed forces. Even the restoration of an old Soviet aircraft carrier for the Chinese navy is feeding that mistrust. Of course, China is a potential competitor to the U.S. that should be counted with, but all those huge military budgets that served U.S. administrations since the decay of the Soviet Union have taught Chinese leaders to fear U.S. military power and incited them to put some of their extra money from China's booming economy into their own military projects.

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