(ABC News, 8/20/08)
A Tennessee company has pleaded guilty to sending defense materials for unmanned aerial vehicles to China. The firm, Atmospheric Glow Technologies (AGT), pleaded guilty to 10 counts of illegally exporting plasma and aerodynamic technology to an individual in China. In 2004, AGT and the University of Tennessee began work on the drone program for the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory. Under the contract, due to the sensitive nature of the program, the parties allegedly agreed that no foreign nationals would work on the project that involved plasma actuator technology to increase the performance of a plane’s aerodynamics.
The case also involves a former University of Tennessee professor, Reece Roth, who was indicted in May 2008 for allegedly exporting sensitive military data to China. Roth’s 18-count indictment also alleged conspiracy to defraud the U.S. Air Force, wire fraud and violating the Arms Export Control Act. His trial is expected to begin this week in Knoxville, Tenn.