(CN) – A Hawaiian engineer who helped design a stealth bomber aircraft for Northup Grumman was sentenced to 32 years in prison after he admitted to helping China develop a cruise missile system, the Justice Department announced.
Noshir Gowadia helped develop the propulsion system on the B-2 Spirit Bomber, a stealth bomber launched in the 1980s. Prosecutors say that a 2005 investigation turned up evidence that he received at least $100,000 from China to help develop an exhaust nozzle on stealth planes that are difficult to detect on infrared systems.
The evidence at trial showed Gowadia took six trips to China between 2003 and 2005, and provided “unauthorized parties” with a PowerPoint presentation about the effectiveness of exhaust nozzles on China’s cruise missile project, among other classified information.
“Mr. Gowadia went beyond disclosing information to China, he performed defense work in that nation with the purpose of assisting them in their stealth weapons design programs,” Hawaii District Attorney Florence Nakakuni said in a statement. “While the full damage of his activities may never be known, we are comforted that justice has been done, and that Mr. Gowadia will spend 32 years in federal prison, incapable of betraying the United States of America again.”
The Indian-born engineer worked for Northup from 1968 to 1986, and continued to contract with the U.S. government until 1997, when his security clearance ended. Prosecutors produced evidence that Gowadia controlled three entities, including a fake children’s charity in Liechtenstein to hide the money he made from foreign governments. Gowadia denied the claims on cross-examination.
A federal judge in Hawaii handed down Gowadia’s sentence, capping off a four-month trial in which a jury found him guilty of five charges. His son Ashton told reporters he planned to appeal, and that his father only provided non-classified information to China.
Gowadia was also convicted of illegally retaining information related to U.S. national defense, money laundering and filing false tax returns for two years.
The prosecution was handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Ken Sorenson of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Hawaii and Senior Trial Attorney Robert E. Wallace Jr., of the Justice Department’s national security counterespionage team.