Combustion expert Bryn Jones, 73, was held amid fears Beijing had gained details of the RAF’s new £100million F-35B stealth jet.
Mr Jones, a visiting professor to a Chinese university, told The Sun: “The police are right to conduct this investigation thoroughly because from what I have read this is a very serious security breach and this country needs to be protected.
“But in due course it will become clear I am innocent of any crime.”
He has been bailed to his home in Belper, Derbys, where he lives with wife Dorothy, 75.
Daughter Jean said: “He’s worked for Rolls since he was 18. You can’t imagine someone more loyal. I’ve no idea what his political views are. He’s certainly not some mad Communist who wants to bring down this country.”
She said her parents often visit China. One neighbour said the Joneses are churchgoers who do charity work in China, adding: “I’d be shocked if Bryn was up to no good.”
Rolls would not comment.
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