WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. State Department said on Tuesday it was investigating how engines made by a Canadian subsidiary of United Technologies Corp wound up in prototypes of the Z-10, China’s first domestically developed military attack helicopter.
State Department spokesman Karl Duckworth said information was being gathered before deciding whether to take any action. “We are reviewing the matter and have no further comments at this time,” he said.
The Pentagon declined to comment on the issue, which was reported by the New York Times on Tuesday.
Pratt & Whitney Canada, the United Technologies unit based near Montreal, said it won a contract in 2000 to supply its PT6 engine for the civilian version of a helicopter that was simultaneously being developed for the military.
Pratt & Whitney said it developed the PT6 engine more than 40 years ago, and over 25,000 of the engines are used on commercial aircraft around the world.
The company said it applied for and received an export license from the Canadian government to provide 10 engines to the Chinese, and they were delivered between 2001 and 2002. The company said in a statement it believed China would develop their own engine for the military model.
But the Chinese military engine ran into delays and Pratt & Whitney engines were used during development of a common aircraft platform that shared rotors and transmissions, according to the statement.
Pratt & Whitney Canada said it had not provided any other engines to China since 2002, and the program had undergone changes. The Canadian government was currently reevaluating the program, the company said.
The Canadian government plans no action against the company over the military diversion, according to the New York Times.
No comment was immediately available from the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, which first issued the export license.
Reporting by Andrea Shalal-Esa and Sue Pleming