An Australian-registered company subject to a US criminal investigation into alleged illegal release of advanced infrared suppression technology was funded by the Australian Department of Defence. NTech Australia was paid to study potential development of derivative systems for use on the Royal Australian Air Force’s Boeing F-18 fighters, and Boeing CH-47D Chinook and Sikorsky S-70A-9 Black Hawk helicopters.


The company was established in June 2001 by former Northrop Grumman engineer Noshir Gowadia, who was charged by the FBI on 26 October 2005 with six breaches of US defence export and national security laws.

The charges all relate to illegal release of technology associated with the Northrop B-2 stealth bomber, a project on which Gowadia participated as a design engineer.

The Australian government last year conducted a preliminary investigation into the alleged links between the FBI investigation and the Australian DoD. A formal investigation was announced on 10 January, to be headed by Ron McLeod, a former Australian inspector general of intelligence and security.

Australian government purchasing records obtained by Flight International show that NTech Australia received at least 10 contract payments worth just over A$1 million ($750,000) between September 2001 and April 2003.

The bulk of the contracts, worth A$858,000, were payments for a classified Australian Defence concept technology demonstration (CTD) programme for an advanced infrared suppression system (AIRSS) for the RAAF’s Lockheed Martin C-130J Hercules transport aircraft. Funding of A$88,000 for what purchasing records refer to as “AIRSS Blackhawk/Chinook adapatability studies” was awarded in August 2002, followed by A$60,000 for an “AIRSS F/A-18 adaptability study” in January 2003.

The programme was jointly administered by the Australian Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO) and the former Australian Defence Acquisition Organisation’s platform electronic-warfare systems programme office. Funding for the AIRSS came via Australia’s Project Air 5416 aircraft electronic-warfare self-protection programme.


Source: Flight International