HONOLULU – A former B-2 stealth bomber engineer convicted of selling military secrets to China is due to be sentenced in federal court on Monday.
Noshir Gowadia, 66, faces up to life in prison for his conviction on 14 counts, including conspiracy, communicating national defense information to aid a foreign nation, and violating the arms export control act.
Chief U.S. District Judge Susan Oki Mollway is due to issue her sentence after listening to arguments from the prosecution and defense. Gowadia, who has been in custody without bail since his 2005 arrest, is also expected to have an opportunity to make a statement.
A federal jury in August found Gowadia guilty after deliberating for six days. They had heard 39 days of evidence over nearly four months. The jury acquitted him on three counts.
Prosecutors said Gowadia helped China design a stealth cruise missile to get money to pay the $15,000-a-month mortgage on his multimillion dollar home overlooking the ocean in Haiku on Maui. They said he pocketed at least $110,000 from the sale of military secrets.
They said Gowadia showed his Chinese contacts how his stealth cruise missile design would be effective against U.S. air-to-air missiles.
Gowadia's defense attorneys said it's true the engineer gave China the design for a stealth cruise missile exhaust nozzle but he based his work on unclassified, publicly available information. Gowadia's son has said his father plans to appeal.
The sentencing comes just weeks after China conducted a flight test of its new J-20 stealth fighter during a visit to Beijing by U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates.
The Jan. 11 flight was held at an airfield in Chengdu, where prosecutors say Gowadia delivered an oral presentation on classified stealth technology in 2003.
The city is home to Chengdu Aircraft Design Institute and is a center for Chinese fighter aircraft and cruise missile reseach and development.
Gowadia helped design the propulsion system for the B-2 bomber when he worked at Northrop Corp., now known as Northrop Grumman Corp., between 1968 and 1986.
Born in India, he moved to the U.S. for postgraduate work in the 1960s and became a U.S. citizen about a decade later. He retired from Northrop for health reasons in 1986, two years before the B-2 made its public debut.
Gowadia moved to Maui in 1999 from the U.S. mainland where he had been doing consulting work after retiring from Northrop.