LONDON - A former Rolls-Royce employee has been arrested in the UK under the Official Secrets Act for allegedly plotting to hand top-secret military information relating to the F-35B stealth fighter jet to China .
The individual — named by The Sun <link> newspaper as Ex-Chief Combustion Technologist Bryn Jones, 73 — was arrested after MI5 received intelligence indicating classified defense intelligence may have been passed to Beijing.
He is accused of breaching Section One of the Official Secrets Act <link>, relating to national security, which carries a maximum 14 year prison sentence.
Jones, whose LinkedIn profile <link> indicates he's a "visiting professor" in "gas turbine combustion" at the Aeronautical University of Xian, central China , was released on bail mere hours after officers from Scotland Yard's SO15 counter-terrorism command raided his home June 12.
Jones worked for Rolls-Royce's combustion engineering section from 1968 — 2003. In 1996 he became Chief of Combustion Technology Acquisition, where his role involved "assessing military and civil product needs" — in 2000, he landed the post of Chief Combustion Technologist, which he retained until he left the compan [image: F-35]
He subsequently formed independent combustion consultancy Kausis — but there are suggestions he maintained a relationship of some kind with his former employer. His positions would've potentially granted him extremely sensitive — and valuable — information on the company's work in the military sector.
As a result, detectives are probing whether details of several Rolls-Royce defense contracts were put at risk — including systems which power the Royal Navy's Trafalgar and Vanguard submarine fleet.
Of chief concern, however, is the potential for the F-35B to have been compromised. While Lockheed Martin designed and built the plane, Rolls-Royce was one of several companies contracted to produce parts of the jet — it was responsible for the ‘lift system' allowing the plane to hover and land vertically on aircraft carriers.
The F-35B has a top speed of 1.6 Mach (1,200 miles per hour), carries air-to-air missiles and lazer-guided bombs which can be deployed within a 1,300-mile range, and can deflect enemy radar to fly almost unnoticed.