Industrial espionage takes place everywhere and in all directions

During the 1990s, the whole world believed that the United States had always been the leader in defense, while the Soviet Union was borrowing these technologies from the West. In fact, American and British scientists were jealous of the advanced technologies possessed by the Soviet Union, and sought ways to steal technologies from their opponents.

One example was the Soviet sonar system, which was stolen by a joint effort of Britain and the United States. A daring mission in the waters of the Soviet Northern Fleet, codenamed Barmaid, was conducted by the British Navy submarine Conqueror. This event was described by British writer Stuart Prebble in his book “Secrets of the Conqueror: The Untold Story of Britain’s Most Famous”. Members of the Conqueror submarine said they approached a Soviet ship at night in the Barents Sea, cut the cable and stole an array-towing sonar system from the Soviet ship, then transported it by plane to an American research center.

Submarine Conqueror
Submarine Conqueror

After the breakup of the Soviet Union, in the 1990s, the Russians and Americans used to be close brothers. The Golden Age came for the US defense industry as it continuously received not only information about innovations, but even design documents, as well as finished products.

Specifically, in the 1990s, representatives of the company Lockheed Martin were at the Yakovlev Design Bureau to study documents about the Yak-141. Therefore, both the F-35 and the Yak-141 have very similar characteristics. Even a contract was signed with a low value for Russian engineers to carry out technical studies related to the most important part, the rotating tubes of the lifting engine.

The invention of Soviet expert Pyotr Ufimtsev was also stolen. The scientist published a book about the stealth plane, which was immediately studied by American CIA officers. This discovery inspired and had a role in the design of the first true stealth aircraft, the Lockheed F-117. The Russian scientist came up with a whole theory that helped to accurately calculate the geometrical shape of the aircraft in order to reduce the Radar cross-section to develop stealth aircraft. This book was published in 1962, but in the Soviet Union at that time such ideas were not well received.

Zvezda’s special escape seats K-36 DM, built in the late 1970’s, are used to assist pilots in safely escaping from a crashed plane. This invention was presented at the Le Bourget air show (France) and has became one of the products that caught the attention of the military.


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