The Russian Missile GAP

Damaged FFG-31 USS Stark - Iraqi Exocet Missile

Janes Defense Weekly is reporting that the Russian Defense Ministry is blocking a contract between Boeing and Zvezda-Strella to purchase up to 100 Kh-31A "Kripton, medium range anti-ship/anti-radar missiles over the next five years. Boeing and Zvezda have been given the go-ahead by the Clinton administration to convert the russian cruise missiles into Navy target drones. Boeing has already launched several Kh-31 missiles and plans to improve its short range with U.S. cruise missile technology.

According to Janes, the main concern driving the opposition to the Kh-31 sale is that it threatens Russian national security. Col. General Victor Mironov, secretary of the Russian Defense Ministry Export Commission, informed the Russian contractor, Zvezda, that the Ministry opposes the deal because the Kh-31 control block requires modification for the U.S. Navy target drone program. The modifications, according to Mironov, could provide the U.S. information on how to defeat Russian cruise missiles.

The deal looks dead unless Uncle Sam can come up with more bucks. Janes reporter, Nikolai Novichkov, also noted that the Russian Defense Ministry may reverse their opposition if the Clinton administration can guarantee a large buy of Kh-31 missiles. Russian officials are discussing a possible U.S. buy of 100 missiles per year.

28% OF KH-31 SALE GOES TO RUSSIAN MILITARY
The U.S. taxpayer is not only paying Russian engineers but some of the money goes directly into the Russian military. Boris Yeltsin is reported to have personally authorized the Kh-31 deal by placing the missile under a list of non-military items that could be exported. Of course, any export sale to the USA includes 28% of the deal going to the Russian military. The opposition of the Russian Defense Ministry is seen not as a national security concern but a gambit for a bigger slice of the pie.


Congress Writes The Navy About Russian Missile

U.S. Sea Snake

CONGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES
WASHINGTON, D.C.  20414

OCTOBER 13, 1998

Dr. H. Lee Buchanan, III
Assistant Secretary for Research, Development & Acquistion
Department of the Navy
1000 Navy Pentagon
Washington, D.C.  20350-1000

Dear Secretary Buchanan:

We are writing to express our concerns and request information
about the Navy's future procurement plans for aerial targets
including the "Sea Snake."  The Sea Snake, currently known as
the Vandal, and its component parts are manufactured by Allied
Signal Target Systems and Summa Technology located in our
districts.  The Sea Snake program is a critically important
project and employs approximately 150 of our constituents.

As you know, the House and Senate approved the FY 1999 Defense
Appropriations Conference Report, which included $72.7 million
for aerial targets within Weapons Procurement Navy.  Last year,
Congress approved $65.9 million for aerial targets in the FY98
Defense Appropriations bill.  Earlier this year, Secretary
Douglass assured us that a full and open competition for the
Supersonic Sea-Skimming Target (SSST) would be held in FY 1998
and a contract would be awarded in the first quarter of FY 1999.
Since w are now in that quarter, please explain the status of
the SSST competition.  Do you expect the contract to be awarded
during this quarter as planned?  We would also appreciate
responses to the following questions:

         What supersonic targets and quantities has the Navy
         procured with FY98 funds?  What was budgeted for
         supersonic targets, and what amount was acutally
         obligated?  Please explain any differences between
         planned procurements and obligated funds.  Are there
         any FY98 funds not yet obligated?  If so, how much and
         what will they be used for?

         What supersonic targets and quantities does the Navy
         intend to procure with the $72.7 million in FY99 funds?

         Have the mission requirements for supersonic targets in
         FY99 changed?  If so, how and why?  Will the Russian
         MA-31 fulfill all those mission requirements?

Finally, we are most concerned about recent reports about the
Navy's decision not to exercise the production option for the
remaining Vandal Extended-Extended Range (EER) targets for 1999
delivery.  The Navy has incidated they are buying Russian MA-31
missiles because "there are insufficient Vandal assets remaining
for conversion."  However, should the Navy procure the last 30
EER Vandal targets as planned, it is our understanding they
would have enough targets to meet the test requirements through
2003.  Please explain the Navy's actions regarding the
production option on the Vandal EER targets.

We would appreciate your response to the above questions as soon
as possible.  Thank you, in advance, for your courtesy and
attentiveness to this request.

Sincerely,

Tim Roemer                 Robert E. Cramer           Van Hilleary
Member of Congress         Member of Congress         Member of Congress

THE NAVY REPLIES ...

Russian Zvezda MA-31



DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY
OFFICE OF THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY
RESEARCH, DEVELOPMENT AND ACQUISTION
1000 NAVY PENTAGON
WASHINGTON, D.C.  20350-1000

OCT 23, 1998

The Honorable Van Hilleary
United States House of Representatives
Washington, D.C.  20515

Dear Mr. Hilleary:

This is to acknowledge your letter of October 13, 1998, to
Assistant Secretary of the Navy Buchanan.  Your letter has been
referred to the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Air
Programs under control number 1998U126001266.

We are gathering information necessary to provide you with a
substantive response and will reply further upon completion of
our investigation into this matter.  You can expect a final
response by 10 November, 1998.

In the interim, if you require further assistance or have
additional information to provide, you may contact Michael Walsh
who is coordinating the repsonse.

Sincerely,

J.R. Trowbridge
CAPT, USN
Executive Assistant to PDASN


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