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Friday, March 18, 2005

DEBKAfile: The Ukranian to Iran Cruise Missile Mess

Here is DEBKAfile page that covers the "export" of Kh-55 cruise missiles to Iran. An interesting read -
The Ukrainian prosecutor-general Svyatoslav Piksun created a major international flap Friday, March 18, when he admitted to the Financial Times that 18 X-55 strategic cruise missiles, also known as Kh-55, had been “exported” - 12 to Iran and 6 to China in 2001. He could not explain how the “significant leak” of technology from the former Soviet Union’s nuclear arsenal occurred, but said the missiles had been sold without nuclear warheads.

The X-55 has a ranged of 3,000 km and is capable of carrying 200 kiloton nuclear warheads. Launched from Su-24 long-range strike aircraft in the Iranian air force, it can put Japan, all of Russia and Israel within range. Piksun’s admission is the first official confirmation of the Ukrainian missile sale that was first made public last month by a Ukrainian parliament member.

Their acquisition heightens concerns about Iran’s nuclear weapons program. The US embassy in Kiev is “closely monitoring” the investigation and demands the findings be made public in full. The Japanese embassy echoed the demand.

DEBKAfile’s Moscow sources reveal that the Ukrainian shipment to Iran included radioactive materials for making “dirty bombs.”

There's more grim news. Read the whole thing.

The Kh-55 strategic cruise missile is used for destroying targets whose coordinates are known. Its guidance system combines inertial-Doppler navigation and position correction based on comparison of terrain in the assigned regions with images stored in the memory of an on-board computer. The propulsion system is a dual-flow engine located underneath the missile's tail. The missile carries a 200 kt nuclear warhead.
Source

This is not, apparently, a new revelation, as MissileThreat had it in February
as seen here.

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