Lalit K Jha
Washington, Jan 25 (PTI) Indian-American NoshirGowadia, a former B-2 stealth bomber engineer has beensentenced by a US federal judge to 32 years of imprisonmentfor selling military secrets to China.
Gowadia, 66, has spent the past five years in prison.
"We''re a little disappointed she didn''t give him alife sentence, that''s the sentence that would''ve sent the bestmessage. But 32 years is stiff and in many ways an appropriatesentence for him," said Ken Sorenson, assistant US attorney.
The sentencing of Mumbai-born Gowadia comes weeksafter China conducted a flight test of its new J-20 stealthfighter. He showed no emotion as Chief US DistrictJudge Susan Oki Mollway pronounced the punishment yesterday.
Prosecutors alleged that Gowadia helped design anexhaust nozzle for China that gives off less heat, making itdifficult for enemy infrared detectors to track the missilefor which he got USD 110,000 over two years.
A US federal jury in August convicted Gowadia of 14counts, including conspiracy, communicating national defenseinformation to aid a foreign nation, and violating the armsexport control act.
"We believe very strongly that he''s innocent and wevery much look forward to the appeals process in the 9thcircuit," Gowadia''s son, Ashton was quoted as saying by thelocal KHON2 news channel.
According to court papers, Gowadia hid the proceedsfrom the transactions by directing the payments to secretSwiss bank accounts of foundations he set up in Liechtenstein,the government said in recently filed court documents.
Gowadia worked for Northrup from 1968 to 1986, duringwhich time he helped develop the B-2 bomber''s uniquepropulsion system.
After his employment with Northrup ended, Gowadiacontinued his relationship with the US military as a privatecontractor.
However, following some angry dealings with the AirForce and the Los Alamos National Laboratory in 1993, Gowadiabegan to seek and solicit business internationally, thegovernment says.
Between 2003 and 2005 Gowadia made six secret tripsinto mainland China and exchanged numerous communications tohelp Chinese defense engineers design a cruise missile that isable to evade air-to-air, heat-seeking missiles, according thefederal indictment against him.