Army Rumour Service

This is a sample guest message. Register a free account today to become a member! Once signed in, you'll be able to participate on this site by adding your own topics and posts, as well as connect with other members through your own private inbox!

Unlikely and backdoor procurements - China et al

Several Confederate States warships were built in English yards, purporting to be merchantmen.

Lairds built the CSS Alabama under the cover of a contract from a major UK cotton broker. All legal and fine to build warships for combatants, while neutral, as long as she wasn't armed til she entered international waters.
 
Rolls Royce sold jet engines that were used in MIG-15 fighters that killed many US and UN personnel during Korean War. Apparently was a lost bet over a snooker game.

In 1946, the Soviets were invited to a Rolls-Royce factory. The delegation in attendance included Artem Mikoyan (the man who put the 'Mi' in 'MiG') himself. Mikoyan was then invited to visit the house of a Rolls-Royce executive, where they played billiards.

Artem Mikoyan was great at billiards. In fact, he may have used a textbook shark move, losing the first game and then raising the stakes on the second. Here's the bet he made: If the Russian wins, Rolls-Royce will have to sell jet engines to the Soviets.

Stalin himself was incredulous, reportedly saying, "what idiot would sell us their jet engines?"

The Russians agreed to use the acquired engines for non-military purposes exclusively, which they did... until they were able to make a Russian copy of the Rolls-Royce engines, then called the Klimov RD-45. The engine was fitted into the MiG-15 and was fully operational in time for the Korean War, taking to the skies with weaponry designed to take down B-29 Superfortress bombers.

The MIG-15 was the dominant fighter over Korea until the introduction of the American F-86 Sabre. The Sabre was more than a match for the new MiG, garnering a 10-to-1 combat victory ratio in the war. It was also the plane flown by all 39 United Nations fighter aces.

Sabres and MiG-15s would be at each other's throats for the duration of the Korean War. The last Sabre was retired from the U.S. military in 1956 whereas the MiG-15 saw service around the world throughout the 1960s. In fact, the plane is still flying with the North Korean People's Air Force to this day.
 
'Water tank' anyone?

1596978239413.png
 

Bodenplatte

War Hero
Lairds built the CSS Alabama under the cover of a contract from a major UK cotton broker. All legal and fine to build warships for combatants, while neutral, as long as she wasn't armed til she entered international waters.

There was a lot of smoke, mirrors, subterfuge and uncertainty about the legality of the warships built in UK for the Confederacy. Alabama, whilst on Birkenhead stocks as Lairds Number 290, was misrepresented as a merchantman. Other vessels like the Laird Rams (which could not possibly have been anything other than warships) were declared as being constructed for the Chinese Navy ! Suffice to say that the British Government accepted, with little argument, post-bellum claims by the US Government for the value of Union ships taken or destroyed in the Civil War by British-built Rebel warships (the so-called "Alabama Claims"). and stumped up US$15m (which more than provided the funds for the US purchase of Alaska.)

As a result of the fiasco, the British Government repealed the 1819 Foreign Enlistments Act, which had proved insufficient for cases like the Liverpool/Confederacy issues, and replaced it with the still-in-force 1870 Foreign Enlistments Act.
 

Yokel

LE
Rolls Royce sold jet engines that were used in MIG-15 fighters that killed many US and UN personnel during Korean War. Apparently was a lost bet over a snooker game.

In 1946, the Soviets were invited to a Rolls-Royce factory. The delegation in attendance included Artem Mikoyan (the man who put the 'Mi' in 'MiG') himself. Mikoyan was then invited to visit the house of a Rolls-Royce executive, where they played billiards.

Artem Mikoyan was great at billiards. In fact, he may have used a textbook shark move, losing the first game and then raising the stakes on the second. Here's the bet he made: If the Russian wins, Rolls-Royce will have to sell jet engines to the Soviets.

Stalin himself was incredulous, reportedly saying, "what idiot would sell us their jet engines?"

The Russians agreed to use the acquired engines for non-military purposes exclusively, which they did... until they were able to make a Russian copy of the Rolls-Royce engines, then called the Klimov RD-45. The engine was fitted into the MiG-15 and was fully operational in time for the Korean War, taking to the skies with weaponry designed to take down B-29 Superfortress bombers.

The MIG-15 was the dominant fighter over Korea until the introduction of the American F-86 Sabre. The Sabre was more than a match for the new MiG, garnering a 10-to-1 combat victory ratio in the war. It was also the plane flown by all 39 United Nations fighter aces.

Sabres and MiG-15s would be at each other's throats for the duration of the Korean War. The last Sabre was retired from the U.S. military in 1956 whereas the MiG-15 saw service around the world throughout the 1960s. In fact, the plane is still flying with the North Korean People's Air Force to this day.

It was also a decision taken by the post war Labour government, which included some Ministers who were very niave towards Stalin and his ilk. I think the Soviets promised only to use it in training aircraft or something.

You would have thought that they would have known better.
 

Bodenplatte

War Hero
Rolls Royce sold jet engines that were used in MIG-15 fighters that killed many US and UN personnel during Korean War. Apparently was a lost bet over a snooker game.

In 1946, the Soviets were invited to a Rolls-Royce factory. The delegation in attendance included Artem Mikoyan (the man who put the 'Mi' in 'MiG') himself. Mikoyan was then invited to visit the house of a Rolls-Royce executive, where they played billiards.

Artem Mikoyan was great at billiards. In fact, he may have used a textbook shark move, losing the first game and then raising the stakes on the second. Here's the bet he made: If the Russian wins, Rolls-Royce will have to sell jet engines to the Soviets.

Stalin himself was incredulous, reportedly saying, "what idiot would sell us their jet engines?"

It probably won't come as a surprise that tales of a snooker match bearing on the decision to sell the Rolls Royce Nene to the Russians is baloney.

The Attlee Government were in power at the time, and gave permission for Rolls Royce to sell about 25 Nenes to the Soviets, believing in Russian promises that they would not be used for military purposes. The Russians reneged and reverse-engineered the Rolls Royce product, called it something else, and made tens of thousands.

US fighter superiority over Korea (once they got the F-86) was very largely due to the calibre of USAF officers, many of whom had seen action over Europe in WW2 and had developed tactics and techniques that were beyond the capabilities of the Russian, Chinese and North Korean pilots that opposed them.
 

Bodenplatte

War Hero
It was also a decision taken by the post war Labour government, which included some Ministers who were very niave towards Stalin and his ilk. I think the Soviets promised only to use it in training aircraft or something.

You would have thought that they would have known better.

Sir Stafford Cripps (Sir Stifford Craps) was President of the Board of Trade at the time, and had the power to approve the sales. He had been very close to the Soviets during the war (including being Ambassador to Moscow for a spell.) No wonder the Yanks found it hard to trust us with many of their secrets.
 
Last edited:
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.

This is a bit of an odd one. There's no doubt that the Iraqis had a Falcon with the Mirage F1's radar; there's also little doubt that it carried a AA-3-38 HAROLD recce pod, at least in some publicity shots. The evidence for it carrying Exocet isn't all that clear.

The story of the aircraft carrying Exocets and hitting the Stark comes from Tom Cooper. Cooper is a prolific aviation author, particularly focussing on the Middle East/Gulf. A lot of the stuff he's done on the Iran-Iraq war is extremely good. The problem is that he sometimes seems - this may be unfair, but it is certainly an impression - to take information from interviews at face value and to reproduce it in good faith.

This is why we have him being behind the claim that an RAF Tornado was shot down by an Iraqi fighter in 1991, but why the story is all over the place - the pilot supposedly gaining the success having been dead for two days when the Tornado claimed to have been shot down was lost; there is eye-witness evidence that the two Tornado crew (one of whom went through IOT with Magic Mushroom, late of this parish, IIRC) were alive after the Iraqi pilot was dead, so the first revision of the tale - not by Cooper but by internet spotters wanting to make the story work - fell to bits as well. There are a couple of other instances where the ACIG site which he was (still is?) involved with contained details presented as hard fact when there were good grounds to consider the information questionable.

So, with that caveat - We know from the Stark BOI that a US AWACS and the Stark CIC identified the aircraft as a Mirage F1. The Stark appears to have made this conclusion via identifying the emissions from the attacking aircraft, but if the Falcon 50 had the same radar... We don't know whether the attack profile was flown at speeds or in a manner which wouldn't be possible for a Falcon 50, or whether the E-3 had positively ID'd it as a Mirage.

The Mirage F1 would be capable of mounting two Exocets (one under each wing) although it more usually seemed to carry a single missile on the centreline with a couple of fuel tanks on the wing pylons. Whether the Falcon 50 could carry a pair of Exocets - did the Iraqis clear it to do so? Would the wing of a Falcon 50 be able to accommodate an Exocet (1,700lb plus) and the weight of the pylon? Or would it fit better under the fuselage? - isn't clear.

There's an Iranian account - the aircraft ended up in Iran in 1991 after fleeing the coalition bombing - which says that the attack on the Stark was performed by this aircraft, but adds that it was supported by two Mirage F1s. Which makes little sense (and isn't backed up by the US evidence from AWACS), since if you have two Mirage F1s capable of carrying Exocet.... I wonder if the story - and NB point of a few words ago about AWACS evidence - is meant to be that the Falcon 50 acted as some sort of pathfinder for the Mirage F1s, which then launched the weapons.
 
It probably won't come as a surprise that tales of a snooker match bearing on the decision to sell the Rolls Royce Nene to the Russians is baloney.

The Attlee Government were in power at the time, and gave permission for Rolls Royce to sell about 25 Nenes to the Soviets, believing in Russian promises that they would not be used for military purposes. The Russians reneged and reverse-engineered the Rolls Royce product, called it something else, and made tens of thousands.

US fighter superiority over Korea (once they got the F-86) was very largely due to the calibre of USAF officers, many of whom had seen action over Europe in WW2 and had developed tactics and techniques that were beyond the capabilities of the Russian, Chinese and North Korean pilots that opposed them.

The story is from the less-than-reliable We Are The Mighty website (after visiting the site to check I was blaming the right one, I'd note that the author of the tale might seek a footnote reference and the use of some quotation marks from The Assassin...)
 

Yokel

LE
This is a bit of an odd one. There's no doubt that the Iraqis had a Falcon with the Mirage F1's radar; there's also little doubt that it carried a AA-3-38 HAROLD recce pod, at least in some publicity shots. The evidence for it carrying Exocet isn't all that clear.

The story of the aircraft carrying Exocets and hitting the Stark comes from Tom Cooper. Cooper is a prolific aviation author, particularly focussing on the Middle East/Gulf. A lot of the stuff he's done on the Iran-Iraq war is extremely good. The problem is that he sometimes seems - this may be unfair, but it is certainly an impression - to take information from interviews at face value and to reproduce it in good faith.

This is why we have him being behind the claim that an RAF Tornado was shot down by an Iraqi fighter in 1991, but why the story is all over the place - the pilot supposedly gaining the success having been dead for two days when the Tornado claimed to have been shot down was lost; there is eye-witness evidence that the two Tornado crew (one of whom went through IOT with Magic Mushroom, late of this parish, IIRC) were alive after the Iraqi pilot was dead, so the first revision of the tale - not by Cooper but by internet spotters wanting to make the story work - fell to bits as well. There are a couple of other instances where the ACIG site which he was (still is?) involved with contained details presented as hard fact when there were good grounds to consider the information questionable.

So, with that caveat - We know from the Stark BOI that a US AWACS and the Stark CIC identified the aircraft as a Mirage F1. The Stark appears to have made this conclusion via identifying the emissions from the attacking aircraft, but if the Falcon 50 had the same radar... We don't know whether the attack profile was flown at speeds or in a manner which wouldn't be possible for a Falcon 50, or whether the E-3 had positively ID'd it as a Mirage.

The Mirage F1 would be capable of mounting two Exocets (one under each wing) although it more usually seemed to carry a single missile on the centreline with a couple of fuel tanks on the wing pylons. Whether the Falcon 50 could carry a pair of Exocets - did the Iraqis clear it to do so? Would the wing of a Falcon 50 be able to accommodate an Exocet (1,700lb plus) and the weight of the pylon? Or would it fit better under the fuselage? - isn't clear.

There's an Iranian account - the aircraft ended up in Iran in 1991 after fleeing the coalition bombing - which says that the attack on the Stark was performed by this aircraft, but adds that it was supported by two Mirage F1s. Which makes little sense (and isn't backed up by the US evidence from AWACS), since if you have two Mirage F1s capable of carrying Exocet.... I wonder if the story - and NB point of a few words ago about AWACS evidence - is meant to be that the Falcon 50 acted as some sort of pathfinder for the Mirage F1s, which then launched the weapons.

I was going to suggest that - converting a business jet to perform some sort of reconnaissance role sounds far more feasible than turning it into a missile platform.

The Argentines used the LearJet for that rule in the Falklands. No idea what equipment they carried, but one of them was splashed by a Sea Dart.
 
Sir Stafford Cripps (Sir Stifford Craps) was President of the Board of Trade at the time, and had the power to approve the sales. He had been very close to the Soviets during the war (including being Ambassador to Moscow for a spell.) No wonder the Yanks found it hard to trust us with many of their secrets.
I knew someone who was "complicit" in the deal. He always maintained that on every level their was opposition but it was facilitated politically.
Initially it was just a visit by a Russian deligation to the RR factory. Later it was revieled that the Russians had special soft soles on their shoes to pick up metal filings for analysis. Luckily for Ivan someone decided to gift them engines. Several high fiveskies ensued and the rest is history.
 
The story is from the less-than-reliable We Are The Mighty website (after visiting the site to check I was blaming the right one, I'd note that the author of the tale might seek a footnote reference and the use of some quotation marks from The Assassin...)
I quoted excerpts from that article rather than just add a link as would be easier to read. Plus the article had a video link that was no longer valid about that billiard match.
 
Rhodesians bought a load of Cessna Skymasters from France , civil types, went to a local airport and fitted them with long range tanks in the back seats. Pilots from Rhodesia with their French co pilots flew them on false papers , supposed to be going to Madagascar I think? Some of the French pilots, well maybe all of them knew what was going on. On arriving all were weponised and did sterling work.

Also bought a load of Aermacchi AL -60s from Italy, again on arrival fitted withmachine guns and weapon pods.

Late war they needed more helicopters. Trying to get them was difficult, even tried to do a deal with the Vatican to buy some , few weeks of paying for a couple of Cardinals on the piss in 4 star hotels put paid to that. In the end the managed to get some Bell UH-1s through a few dealers that were ex Israeli. The helicopters that was.

Turned out they were all mostly sheds , very sand damaged . Cost a fortune to bring over ex US Army Techs and pilots to strip them down and rebuild and fly them.

Also a lot of other Army kit from SA and other locations.
 
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.!

Spotter alert:

I believe it was the Dornier Do 17 that was known as the ‘Flying Pencil’.

It’s considerably more anorexic than the Ju 88 IIRC...
 

HE117

LE
One might like to ask where the Israelis managed to source the weapons grade plutonium that they have not got to build the weapons they don't have...?
 
I have mentioned this previously on here but cant find it.
Many years ago I worked for the AA, we ran the world's largest command and control system not owned by a government agency.
One fine day a group of gentlemen are being shown round, they all wore foreign military uniform and had moustaches that later became well known on the face of Saddam and his chums.
The suppliers did not get an export licence.
 
One might like to ask where the Israelis managed to source the weapons grade plutonium that they have not got to build the weapons they don't have...?

The same place as the Yanks. The question is answered by Israel's close but puzzling diplomatic and military training ties to President Obote's Uganda - particularly in the Congo border areas. Allegedly.
 
The same place as the Yanks. The question is answered by Israel's close but puzzling diplomatic and military training ties to President Obote's Uganda - particularly in the Congo border areas. Allegedly.
Not a myth just what I was told. have a German mate who did a tour in the Congo back in the 199ies. Until I met him never even knew the Germans did postings to Africa. Anyway he had a few years there and drove around quite a bit.

Funny thing was he could not miss the large “American “ aircraft landing on one of the bases . Well big aircraft with no markings, but C130ies.
 

Yokel

LE
One might like to ask where the Israelis managed to source the weapons grade plutonium that they have not got to build the weapons they don't have...?

The French sold them a reactor and they sort of acquired a ship full of Yellow Cake. I assume their early weapons were Uranium based.

On that topic, am I right in thinking that HM Customs intercepted a load of ultra high specifications capacitors heading to Iraq in 1990? I have no idea what they claimed they wanted them for, but the intelligence people reckoned they had potential nuclear weapon uses.
 

Latest Threads

Top