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U.S. helps Russia build better missile

Posted By Charles Smith On 08/21/2000 @ 1:00 am In Front Page | Comments Disabled

WorldNetDaily has obtained documents showing that the Clinton
administration is helping Russia to improve a deadly new missile.

According to the newly released documents, obtained from the U.S.
Navy through the Freedom of Information Act, the Clinton administration
has an ongoing contract with Russian-based weapons-maker Zvezda Strella
and U.S. weapons-maker Boeing/Douglas to develop jointly “pre-planned
product improvements (P3I)” for the Kh-31 “Krypton” anti-radar missile.
The deadly Krypton missile is designed to destroy American Patriot and
Aegis radar systems.

“If true, this is worse than Loral or Hughes (security scandals),”
commented a national security source inside Capitol Hill. “This is not
a commercial satellite venture. The Krypton is a weapon.”

MA-31 Krypton missile in flight. Artist’s concept obtained
from the U.S. Navy through the Freedom of Information Act.

The American improvements to the Russian Krypton, including design
and fuel changes for “extended range,” were given directly to the
Russian missile contractor in a joint U.S./Russian “Foreign Technology
Comparison Test” program. The documents show that since 1995, U.S. and
Russian weapons engineers have worked together on the joint project to
test and improve the advanced Krypton missile for use as a Navy target
missile.

“We cannot deny the authenticity of the documents,” said Russian
Embassy press officer Mikhail Shugalian from his office in Washington,
D.C. “Otherwise, I can provide no comment.”

Last month,

WorldNetDaily reported that American defense
contractor Orbital Sciences won
the U.S. Navy Supersonic Sea-Skimming Target drone contract, beating a combined team of Boeing and Russian contractor Zvezda that offered an “extended-range” Krypton missile. However, the Orbital Sciences target will not be ready for Navy testing until 2001 or 2002, resulting in a Navy shortage of target missiles.

To fill the gap, the Clinton administration has an active contract with Russia to provide as many as two hundred more MA-31 Krypton target missiles. Boeing spokesman Bob Alarotti confirmed that the U.S. Navy deal with Boeing and Russian contractor Zvezda to supply Krypton target missiles is continuing. Alarotti also confirmed Russian and U.S. engineers have tested the missile.

“We have an active contract with the Navy to supply MA-31 (Krypton) targets from Russia,” stated Boeing spokesman Bob Alarotti. “There have been a whole series of tests done against the missile since the mid-1990s.

“Boeing is not able to comment on any improvements made to the Krypton,” said Alarotti. “That information will have to be obtained through the U.S. Navy Department.”

According to one Russian source, the Krypton missiles supplied to the U.S. Navy are a little more than a “hollow target shell.” In 1995, Navy personnel quickly determined that the Russian Krypton target missiles couldn’t be used to test anti-missile electronic counter-measures. The review document noted that the Russian Kryptons supplied to the U.S. Navy do not include the all-important radar “seeker” and guidance electronics from the weapon version of the missile.

“Removal of the seeker will preclude use of the MA-31 for testing the effectiveness of soft-kill EW (electronic warfare) systems and decoys,” states the 1995 report.

Boeing spokesman Bob Alarotti confirmed for WorldNetDaily that the Russian Krypton missiles supplied to the U.S. Navy did not include the electronics and “seeker” head.

“The Russians supply the basic MA-31 Krypton vehicle only,” stated Alarotti. “No Russian electronics. No Russian radar seeker.”

Despite the allegations of direct assistance to Russia, the U.S. Navy intends to continue the Russian Krypton target program, and perhaps with good reason. According to defense analyst Richard Fisher, Russia has sold the weapon version of the Krypton to China.


Zvezda Krypton missile in front of a Sukhoi strike-bomber. China has purchased both the Sukhoi aircraft and the Krypton missile.

“China recently signed a deal with Russia to co-produce the extended-range version of the Krypton,” said Jamestown Foundation fellow Richard Fisher.

“The Chinese intend to produce the KR-1, their own version of the Kh-31p improved Krypton. In addition, the recent sale of Russian Sukhoi SU-30MK supersonic strike bombers to the Chinese air force also includes Krypton missiles. We can expect to see the Krypton to proliferate.”

According to a July 2000 General Accounting Office report, “unless the Navy can improve the self-defense capabilities of its surface ships, these ships will be increasingly vulnerable to cruise missile threats.”

“The threat to surface ships from sophisticated anti-ship cruise missiles is increasing,” states the General Accounting Office report, titled “Comprehensive Strategy Needed to Improve Ship Cruise Missile Defense.”

“Nearly 70 nations have deployed sea- and land-launched cruise missiles, and 20 nations have air-launched cruise missiles. Current anti-ship cruise missiles are faster, stealthier, and can fly at lower altitudes than the missiles that hit the U.S.S. Stark in 1987, killing 37 sailors. The next generation of anti-ship cruise missiles — most of which are now expected to be fielded by 2007 — will be equipped with advanced target seekers and stealthy design. These features will make them even more difficult to detect and defeat.”

The problem-plagued Navy Krypton project is also dogged by allegations of improper financial activity. In 1999, Jane’s Defense reported that each Krypton missile purchase included a 28 percent “fee” given directly to Russian generals. Navy documents obtained using the Freedom of Information Act show that each MA-31 missile costs $910,000. The extremely high price for the MA-31 is almost twice the cost of similar U.S. weapons.

The 28 percent fee per-missile amounts to over a quarter million dollars per missile paid directly to the Russian generals. U.S. Navy managers have previously denied any knowledge of allegations of corruption regarding kickbacks in the payments for the Russian missiles.


“We send the money to the Russians,” stated Mr. G. Hotze the U.S.
Navy program manager for the MA-31 program in October 1999,
“What they do with it is their business.”

According to the documentation, the American program to improve the Russian Krypton missile was intended to provide the U.S. Navy with a super-sonic target drone. Defense contractor McDonnell Douglas wrote a 1995 document, titled “MA-31 FOREIGN TECHNOLOGY COMPARISON TEST (FCT) PROGRAM REVIEW HIGHLIGHTS,” showing that the Russian missile needed to be improved.

“The MA-31 target will need (pre-planned product improvements) P3I in order to meet the range and ground/surface launch requirements for the Supersonic Sea-Skimming Target program. The range of the MA-31 target in its FCT configuration is approximately 15 nm (nautical miles) at low altitude,” states the review document.

According to the 1995 McDonnell Douglas review, one “extended-range option” given to the Russian contractor “adds an auxiliary fuel tank, a reduced-drag nose cone, changes the fuel to JP-10 (which has a higher specific energy content than the Russian fuel), and modifies the ramjet nozzle. The extended-range modification is intended to increase range to approximately 42 nm (nautical miles) at 10m (meter) altitude.”


U.S. Navy F-4 Phantom test fires a Zvezda MA-31 Krypton target missile. The Russian-built AKY-58M Krypton launcher is seen extended underneath the Navy Phantom.

Another crucial design improvement given to Russia involved “Ground Jettison Testing” done by the U.S. defense contractor with the Russian missile. According to the 1995 program review document, the Russian-built AKY-58M missile launcher for the MA-31 was fatally flawed and could destroy the airplane, killing the pilot. This flaw was discovered and the Russian contractor was informed to make specific design changes to the missile launcher to correct the fatal flaw.

“An anomaly was encountered during testing of the emergency jettison sequence,” states the 1995 review document. “In three emergency jettison tests, the lanyard stayed with the launch rail instead of with the target. In all cases, the booster would have been armed, and ignition could have occurred for any of several reasons. MDAC (McDonnell Douglas) has determined that use of a longer lanyard and slower separation velocity would allow proper operation of the emergency jettison sequence. The problem has been turned over to the Russians for resolution.”

Related stories:


U.S. picks Navy team over Russia


Navy to get Russian ‘Sunburn’


Russia — new U.S. defense contractor?


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