This post is also available in: heעברית (Hebrew)

China attempted to acquire advanced US fighter aircraft engines and a UAV, according to US Federal Court documents unsealed last week.

A Chinese man and woman attempted to acquire and export to China the General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper UAV, the Pratt & Whitney F135 engine used on the F-35 stealth fighter, the P&W F119 engine used on the F-22 Raptor stealth fighter, and the General Electric F110 engine used on the F-15 and F-16 fighters.

The woman was born in China and became a US citizen in 2006, where she was vice president of the family-run AFM Microelectronics Corp. in San Diego. The company made advanced capacitors for export,  though there is little on the company website to indicate an interest in military equipment. She was arrested Sept. 1, but the man remains a “fugitive” and is believed to be in China. The two allegedly made efforts to secure the shipment of the defense items via one of three countries: Hong Kong, Israel and South Korea.

Investigators said the man discussed paying $50 million to an undercover operative to illegally ship an MG-9 Reaper, an unmanned drone that is “capable of firing Hellfire missiles and is classified as a defense article,” on the U.S. defense munitions list. Defense World reports that the undercover operative, a Homeland Security Investigations special agent, thwarted their effort.

The items are restricted for export under US International Traffic in Arms Regulations. China has been on the list since 1990. The undercover operation began in 2011, according to documents.

Prosecutors said the woman’s husband, who has not been charged, warned her that the person she was dealing with was “probably an undercover agent.”

If convicted, she faces a maximum of 25 years in federal prison and $1.25 million in fines.

Subscribe to our newsletter.