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Republic has ordered anti-tank missile system from arms firm

category national | anti-war / imperialism | news report author Thursday January 08, 2004 05:11author by Republic has ordered anti-tank missile system from arms firm

Republic has ordered anti-tank missile system from arms firm

The Department of Defence has confirmed that it has ordered an advanced anti-tank missile system for delivery in the next few months from a US joint venture between the raytheon and Lockheed Martin companies.

raytheon Lockheed Martin issued a statement yesterday highlighting the deal following demands from Derry City Council that raytheon assure them that its plant in Derry is not involved in the production of any form of military hardware or software. There were also protests in Derry's Guildhall Square yesterday by anti-war activists.

At a special meeting last night, the council decided to write to raytheon after councillors had received a dossier from the Foyle Ethical Investment Campaign which alleges that the plant was involved in weapons- related production.

A spokesperson for raytheon, which declined the council's invitation to attend the meeting, said their Derry workforce of 35 was involved "solely in software development for civilian air- traffic control".

The Government's order for an anti-tank missile system was made last year but was not announced at the time. However details of the order have been published in other publications, including Jane's Defence Weekly.

The system, called Javelin, will replace the Milan anti-tank missile system which has been in use by the Defence Forces for 25 years. While the existing system has been used for training purposes, it has never been deployed abroad with any peacekeeping missions engaged in by the Defence Forces.

A Department of Defence spokesman said last night the new system is designed to be used both for training and for peace enforcement missions. A Defence Forces spokesman said that while the existing Milan system uses missiles must be guided throughout their flight to their target, the new system will involve what are known as "fire-and-forget" missiles which, once launched, will guide themselves to their target.

According to a statement from raytheon/Lockheed Martin yesterday, the Irish order is worth $12.5 million (€9.9 million).

The initial order is for 10 firing posts, but the Defence Forces spokesman could not say last night how many missiles would be involved.

The US joint venture, which is based in Bethesda, Maryland, said yesterday that the missile system "is the world's first one man-transportable and employable fire-and-forget anti-armor missile system".

The company said Ireland's choice of this system "marks the raytheon/Lockheed Martin Javelin Joint Venture's first sale to a neutral, non-aligned nation that has actively supported numerous UN peacekeeping operations throughout the world".

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