I think that we can count on China to start delivering more technological surprises - and in some cases they will be aided by cyber-espionage. Remember that's what the Advanced Persistent Threat is all about, and the great thing about cyber-espionage is that it can be exploited without risking human sources. That makes it much more useful - both in learning how to do things and avoiding blind alleys and pitfalls in R&D. (emphasis added)
There are several ways information stolen by APT could have helped with this aviation program. A few include:
- Theft of Western technology for direct application to building the Chinese aircraft
- Theft of Western technology to help design the Chinese aircraft to counter Western aircraft
- Theft of Western technology to help Chinese integrated air defense systems and other counter-aircraft weapons to deny, degrade, or destroy Western aircraft and systems
- Theft of Western program histories and experiences to guide Chinese designers and builders away from failed approaches and toward more promising methods
- Theft of Western plans and tactics to assist Chinese pilots flying against Western pilots
Building Chinese stealth fighters isn't the end goal of APT activity. They are tasked with their missions to further national ends, which involve strategic goals. This fighter is a means to an end.