Craig Thomas’s 1977 novel Firefox sees American pilot ColonelMitchell Gant slipping into the
The Firefox was so good that not only did the
A similar heist nearly played out in the Russian far eastlast year involving an alleged Chinese spy. The stolengoods were far grubbier, however, than a Mach 4 stealth jet.
After a year of investigations, said Ria Novosti newsagency, Russian investigators finally determined the culprit was attempting tosmuggle parts for the Mig-29 and Su-27 aircraft in his trunk. The parts included “six stepping motors, twopiston pumps, 54 connectors, an elapsed-time meter and other parts.”
Ria Novosti adds that another Chinese man was stopped at thesame checkpoint in 2009 for carrying Su-27 power supply circuits.
While not as glamorous as the Mach 4 stealth fighter stolenby Col. Gant, the case brings a glimmer of hazy light to the dubious world ofChinese copying of Russian military kit. Over the years the Chinese have copied numerous fighter types, most recentlythe J-11 (Su-27) and J-15 (Su-33). Onewonders how many clandestine shipments of parts have crossed the bordersuccessfully over the last few decades – perhaps aided by a friendly envelopeof cash – and how useful they have proved to