Bernard Trevelyan, who headed the Ministry of Defence's Light Armoured Engineering Systems, used a front company to leak technical and financial secrets on valuable orders, Southwark Crown Court was told.
Judge Michael Harris, sentencing, said Trevelyan, 61, of Rowley Regis, West Midlands, had known 'full well' he was behaving corruptly when he decided to 'get a slice of the action' on contracts worth millions of pounds.
Trevelyan was convicted of four counts of corruption involving a total of pounds 8,652 and one charge of attempted corruption, which could have netted him a further pounds 28,580.
The judge said: 'We take pride, and I hope rightly, that the public service in this country is largely free from corruption and, we believe, to a large extent incorruptible. There is strong public interest in keeping it that way. Civil servants and public employees will get to know what happens to you and . . . if they succumb to temptation, as you did, they will lose their liberty.'
Also before the court was David Oliver, 53, of Camberley, Surrey, managing director of defence agents Imvec, who was fined pounds 4,000 after being found guilty of corruptly paying Trevelyan, his close friend, pounds 2,000 for a report on armoured vehicles.
The court was told Trevelyan had a 'great deal of influence' in deciding who won lucrative deals for armoured car equipment and machine-gun mountings. He set up a 'sham' company which he used as a secret pipeline to receive up to pounds 5,500 a time in return for his influence in granting MoD contracts between 1985 and 1988.
Gordon Foxley, 69, a former MoD official from Henley-on- Thames, Oxfordshire, who was convicted last December of corruption for accepting bribes worth pounds 1.5m, will be sentenced next month, after a judge at Snaresbrook Crown Court in north-east London yesterday rejected an application for a further delay in the case.