The `Stealth' Will Remain Invisible

Moscow MOSKOVSKIYE NOVOSTI, 1-8 Oct 95 No 67, p 29 by Denis Baranets

The authorities must choose: Either rattle their weapons and declare another anti-NATO military bloc or sell their military secrets, not always scrupulously and honestly.

At the end of April of this year the top secret Russian S-300 surface-to-air missile system (ZRK) was sold to the U.S. with the mediation of the American firm G.R.A. Trading Company, Inc. The decision to conduct negotiations with subsequent sale of the ZRK was made by the state company Rosvooruzheniye in compliance with the Russian Federation Government directive No. 1841-rs of 26 November 1994. According to certain information the total price of the transaction amounted to $100 million. But, in the opinion of independent experts, indirect losses to Russia from the sale of its unique weapons are much greater than the income from the transaction.

Beginning with the first blueprints and ending with the delivery of the S-300 to the anti-aircraft defense forces, the military counterintelligence, the GRU [Main Intelligence Directorate], and other Russian special services have kept the secret of this ZRK like the apple of their eye. In turn, Western (and above all American) intelligence has begun an out-and-out hunt for the technical specifications on the Russian military innovation. The fact is that the United States has completed the program for series production of invisible aircraft of the "Stealth" type which, according to the statement of the designers, can freely penetrate any air defense system. But American specialists had not unfounded fears that the "Stealths" might not be able to conquer the new Russian air defense system. According to assessments of a former technical analyst of the Main Intelligence Directorate of the General Staff, the radar system of the 36d6 of the S- 300 ZRK actually does make it possible to freely conduct long-distance detection of the widely advertised American aircraft of the "Stealth" type and to destroy them with 99- percent accuracy.

Unable to obtain the technical documentation of the S- 300 in Russia, American intelligence has begun to work actively in Belarus and Ukraine. As a result, each of the republics sent an S-300 complex to the other side of the ocean. But they did not figure out the technical secret. The fact is that the Americans received an item called the S-300 MPU1, in which the combat and tactical- technical specifications of the complex were reduced. These were the so-called export versions of the weapons. Therefore they needed a "pure" Russian combat model of the S-300V type. Representatives from the United States began to knock on the doors of Rosvooruzheniye. And they got their attention.

On 17 April of this year, commenting on the "successful" transaction with the American firm G.R.A. Trading Company, Inc., a Rosvooruzheniye worker, Valeriy Pogrebnikov, stated that "this is a real breakthrough. The two former enemies are becoming partners. Cooperation is much better than confrontation, and we are glad that our cooperation has begun with such a modern and perfect system." The Americans did not conceal their joy either. On 21 April a representative of the Washington analytical center, the Brookings Institution, Raymond Gartoff, said candidly: "The United States is obviously interested in this system in order to learn its capabilities and what it can do. Possibly we will be able to find certain elements of the system which would be useful for our own program for the creation of defensive ballistic missiles."

The process of preparation and the mechanism for realization of the transaction for the sale of the S-300 are noteworthy. When concluding the contract with the American firm G.R.A. Trading Company, Inc., the general investor and subcontractor, with Rosvooruzheniye's consent (sixth paragraph of the contract, point 2.1) was the Volkhov Defense Systems private joint-stock company. According to this agreement this joint-stock company is a participant in foreign economic activity in the area of military- technical cooperation. Therefore it should have been certified and registered in compliance with the requirements of the regulation "On Certification and Registration of Enterprises for the Right To Export Arms and Military Equipment, Work and Services for Military Purposes," approved by the Russian Federation Government under No. 479. In other words, the firm should have undergone a state investigation for reliability.

As we were able to clarify, even before the completion of this transaction the State-Legal Administration of the president of the Russian Federation sent information on the procedure for financing and manufacturing the S-300 (No. A19-1-707 of 7 April 1995) to the deputy chairman of the Committee on Defense of the State Duma, Piskunov. Having considered this document, the Committee on Defense presented a written conclusion that the agreement "On the Procedure for Financing and Manufacture of the S-300 PM Surface-to- Air Missile System," was improper, of which it gave notification to the deputy chairman of the government of the Russian Federation, Oleg Soskovets who is in charge of weapons trade. In a message to the deputy prime minister (No. 3.13-798/OS-P.-05959/) the deputies reported a number of extremely gross violations in the organization of the financing, manufacture, and sale of the ZRK S-300 PM. It was pointed out in particular that the Volkhov private joint-stock company had not been certified by the state commission for the right to work with information pertaining to state secrets; this firm's charter did not envision the production of weapons and military equipment; the founders of the joint-stock company did not include the chief developer of anti-aircraft missile systems for the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, the Almaz Scientific- Production Design Bureau; 60 percent (5 million rubles [R]) of the authorized capital of the Volkhov private joint- stock company belongs to five individuals, which makes it possible for them to receive most of the profit from the transaction.

Getting somewhat ahead of ourselves, let us note that this is what happened. The Volkhov private joint-stock company, lobbying for this transaction with all its might, promptly transferred to the producer of the S-300 R51 billion as a credit payment. And the "Volkhov people" themselves took $26.2 million in the Mytishchinskiy Commercial Bank, where the currency was sent for them as credit from the United States.

During March-April of this year the Control Administration under the president of the Russian Federation proposed that the Ministry of Economics within a month's time produce a conclusion about the propriety of enlisting the Volkhov private joint-stock company in this transaction. But such a conclusion was never produced. Nor was the Ministry of Finance able to give a report on the propriety of the financial forms of calculation. The Ministry of Defense in its finding No. 205/8527 regarding exporting the S-300 completely shifted all the responsibility from itself by forwarding it to Rosvooruzheniye. It seems that no one is responsible for exporting top secret state information.

Nonetheless the main question remained unanswered. How did the contract for the delivery of the unique weapons, bypassing all legal restrictions, still come about? Which high state bureaucrat is responsible for this colossal harm to Russia's defense capability?

Experts note that after this transaction there can be no doubt that the American "Stealth," whose development will be completed in the near future, will indeed be completely invisible to Russian air defense. In turn, the domestic military-industrial complex has no money to manufacture a better and more reliable model to replace the ZRK S-300 which has become declassified. It is no accident that representatives of both Russian and foreign special services assess this transaction as one of the most successful intelligence operations of the United States in recent years.