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Iraq Makes Inroads With Missile Program
July (AFP) July 1, 2000 - US officials say that Iraq has restarted its weapons program and flight-tested a short-range ballistic missile, the New York Times reported Saturday.

Iraq has conducted eight tests in all, the daily reported, including one last Tuesday. Officials said production plants and research labs destroyed in December 1998 by US and British warplanes had been rebuilt and resumed work, according to the Times.

The daily wrote that Iraq's liquid-fueled "Al Samoud" missile did not violate United Nations restrictions imposed on Baghdad after the Persian Gulf war in 1991, because the missile's range is less than 150 kilometers (95 miles).

Still, officials in Washington are concerned that the missiles could transport conventional explosives or the chemical and biological weapons that Iraq is still suspected of hiding. Officials also fear that Baghdad may be working to perfect its ballistic missile technology, which could be adapted to missiles with a longer range, the Times wrote.

The United States and Britain attacked Iraq in 1998 to punish the government of Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein for halting cooperation with international weapons inspectors. A large number of the targets struck in those raids industrial and military factories.

After the strikes the US Defense Department said they had set back Iraq's missile program by one to two years. But officials now say the damage to the missile centers appears to have been less significant, according to the Times.

Iraq began work on Al Samoud -- which means "resistance" in Arabic -- after the Persian Gulf war. The missile is believed to be a variant of the Soviet-era SA-2.

US officials said the new missile did not appear to be ready for deployment yet.

The China-Brazil Earth Resources Satellite (CBERS) was launched in October 1999 and the experience gleaned from operating this satellite will support Beijing's efforts to develop improved military reconnaissance satellites.
Defense Department Details Chinese Military Space Capabilities and Plans
Washington - June 28, 2000 - China has the capability to launch military photoreconnaissance satellites; however, the technology employed is outdated by Western standards, says a report issued by the Department of Defense June 22 as part of wider review of Chinese military capabilities.

The following is an extract of the report as relating to Military Space Activities.

Beijing does not possess a real-time photoreconnaissance capability, but eventually may deploy advanced imagery reconnaissance and earth resource systems with military applications.

The China-Brazil Earth Resources Satellite (CBERS) was launched in October 1999 and the experience gleaned from operating this satellite will support Beijing's efforts to develop improved military reconnaissance satellites. CBERS also will provide some militarily useful data.

China also may attempt to deploy a near-real-time electro-optical imaging satellite within the next decade, as well as a high-resolution film-based photoreconnaissance satellite.

In the interim, Beijing can be expected to exploit commercial SPOT and LANDSAT imagery.

Use of other commercial higher resolution satellite imagery also can be anticipated, as it becomes available. China already has launched three low-orbit meteorological satellites and a geosynchronous weather satellite.

  • Further Details

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     Lockheed Wins Missile Contract With A THAAD
    Huntsville - June 28, 2000 - The U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command, Huntsville, AL, today awarded Lockheed Martin an approximate $4 billion contract to begin the Engineering and Manufacturing Development phase of the Theater High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) program.

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