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Unlikely and backdoor procurements - China et al

Yokel

LE
Not so many years ago a slightly used ex Soviet aircraft carrier was rusting away in a shipyard in the Ukraine. Nobody imagined that this ship would ever go to see again, so when a Chinese businessman wanted to become the hulk as a novelty casino and hotel, nobody thought much of it.

Today the 'hotel' not only puts to sea under her own power but acts as a carrier.

Saddam Hussein managed to get most of the barrel sections for his supergun made using the cover of a petrochemical project.

There must be multiple examples of non western nations acquiring weapons technologies and capabilities using cover stories.
 
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Not so many years ago a slightly used ex Soviet aircraft carrier was rusting away in a shipyard in the Ukraine. Nobody imagined that this ship would ever go to see again, so when a Chinese businessman wanted to become the hulk as a novelty casino and hotel, nobody thought much of it.

Today the 'hotel' not only puts to sea under her own power but acts as a carrier.

Saddam Hussein managed to get most of the barrel sections for his supergun made using the cover of a petrochemical project.

There must be multiple examples of non western nations acquiring weapons technologies and capabilities using cover stories.

I've seen part of the Supergun. Still a fascinating bit of Defence/Arms industry history.
 

Yokel

LE
Does anyone know of any similar examples?

I am sure they have been cases of dodgy regimes being drive train and suspension systems for 'agricultural' vehicles, and subsequently putting them in armoured vehicles - various. Others have militarised vehicles ostensibly for civilian use.

There must be naval and aircraft examples too - helicopters or fixed wing aircraft bought for civil transport or SAR being used for military transport or attack, or small craft being used for attack/assault and not rescue...

There are possibly many more.
 

AlienFTM

MIA
Book Reviewer
Turret bearings in Scorpion came from the USSR.
 

Yokel

LE
Not quite what you wanted but the Henkel 1,11 was built ostensibly as
” a fast mail transport”.!

Actually that was the sort of thing I had in mind. Dodgy regimes and their front companies acquiring things to get around the rules. For example, there seems to be a demand for so called tourist submarines - useful bits and pieces for shallow water SSKs.

A lot of COTS systems can be used by the unscrupulous to improve old weapon systems.
 

skeetstar

Old-Salt
Wasnt the FW condor a transatlantic airliner? I think it was jerely re purposed by the military rather than being designed as military in the first place though.
 
Wasnt the FW condor a transatlantic airliner? I think it was jerely re purposed by the military rather than being designed as military in the first place though.
A very poor one, most that didn’t meet there demise at the hands of allied pilots were written off after breaking up after hard landings istrc.
the junkers 88 ( the flying pencil) was another “ fast mail plane”. One presumes for very small mailbags..
when I was in the Isle of Man, there was a firm there that primarily made the thermocouple switches that are found in every modern £4 kettle.
they were dead pleased to win a quote to assemble a vaguely similar shaped bit for a company with links to Iran, until I believe they had a visit from London who I assume pointed out what what they were going to make could also be / principally be, used for.!
 

Yokel

LE
Wasnt the FW condor a transatlantic airliner? I think it was jerely re purposed by the military rather than being designed as military in the first place though.

There must be more modern examples of developing nations converting airliners or transport aircraft to something else. In 1982 the Argentine Air Force used a few Hercules as makeshift bombers. Transport aircraft could be used for laying mines.

Not so long ago I was looking at the website of a British company which said they had done consultancy work on the landing gear of a long range Chinese SAR aircraft- what is to stio it from bring used for ASW/ASuW roles?

when I was in the Isle of Man, there was a firm there that primarily made the thermocouple switches that are found in every modern £4 kettle.
they were dead pleased to win a quote to assemble a vaguely similar shaped bit for a company with links to Iran, until I believe they had a visit from London who I assume pointed out what what they were going to make could also be / principally be, used for.!

Exactly the sort of thing I was talking about.

Anyway - do Western intelligence services, armed forces, or industry ever get to use these sort of acquisition tactics to beat the opposition at their own game? Or to beat the glacial pace of normal procurement?
 
Fairly ancient but East Germany aquired advanced bits of electronic gear for its listening posts on the IGB from West Germany via a cover company in Sweden. That wasn't discovered until after re-unification.
More recent the German Bundesnachrichtendienst (spooks) and the CIA ran a company in Switzerland selling encryption gear to all kinds of countries, predominantly African, near and middle east. All the gear was equipped with a back door so both agencies had full access to the secrets of the customers who bought their gear.
 
Iraq used a Falcon business jet to fire 2 x Exocet missiles which nearly destroyed a US warship.

 
On a slight tangent but the US defence industry relies on rare earth imports from China, with over 80% of their supply sourced from there. China have threatened to apply sanctions to Lockheed Martin, prompting Mike Pompeo to beg them not to. This was pre-Tik Tok and, now, the treat of a ban on WeChat (which has far bigger implications). The Yanks may find that they have shot themselves in the foot with this one if China follows through on the threat.
 

Yokel

LE
Iraq used a Falcon business jet to fire 2 x Exocet missiles which nearly destroyed a US warship.


Is there any authoritative record that Iraq converted a business jet to carry the Exocet, which would have meant weapon pylons and missile launch rails, and just as significantly the Agave radar?

Iraq had Agave/Exocet armed Mirage F1s and before that leased Super Eterndards so why would they?

@Archimedes and @jrwlynch probably know more. They might know of other examples.
 
Howard Hughes built the GloMar Explorer to "extract manganese" from the seabed. Unfortunately, a sunk Russian submarine accidentally got caught in the lines.
 

Sadurina

Old-Salt
Back in '97 I was involved in a hi-tech startup biz. Within days we had a fax (remember them?) from a company proporting to be Syrian. We tried to send a fax back, politely pointing that that we didn't stand a chance of getting an export licence, but the return fax line was never answered.
To this day I wonder who really sent it.
We were also sent a list of organisations and companies which HMG would prefer we didn't do business with. This list is still circulated, I understand it. (I left the company in 2017.)
 
The USA bought the titanium to build the SR-71 from the USSR.

The Soviet Union actually helped build the Blackbird: "The airplane is 92% titanium inside and out. Back when they were building the airplane the United States didn't have the ore supplies - an ore called rutile ore. It's a very sandy soil and it's only found in very few parts of the world. The major supplier of the ore was the USSR. Working through Third World countries and bogus operations, they were able to get the rutile ore shipped to the United States to build the SR-71."

 

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