British forces find western military equipment in Iraq

30 March 2003

Geostrategy Intelligence


Iraq's military has procured a variety of Western and other foreign-made equipment, invading coalition forces have discovered.

British troops raided fortified bunkers of the abandoned Az Zubayr helicopter base outside Basra and have discovered crates of military equipment from Britain and Russia. These include Russian-made cruise missiles and warheads. The British equipment also contained U.S. markings.

Officials said the crates displayed the stamp and address of Wallop Defence Systems, a leading British contractor and supplier to the U.S. Army.

Wallop, a subsidiary of Cobham plc, specializes in missile tracking flares for tail-tracked guided missiles and electrically-initiated rocket motor igniters.

One Wallop crate contained rocket-propelled grenades. Another contained fuses.

This is not the first time Wallop has been linked to Iraqi weapons. In 1991, Kurdish protesters seized documents from the Iraqi embassy in London that linked Wallop to an Iraqi arms procurement network.

Wallop has denied that it sold products to Iraq. In a detailed statement, the company said that in 1985 it sold smoke grenades to Kuwait and that these were seized by Iraqi forces in their invasion of the sheikdom in 1990.

British troops also found Al Harith missiles. The Al Harith was described as an anti-ship cruise missile produced by Russia.

In a related matter, British Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon disclosed that British forces in Iraq are using a new precision-guided weapon called Storm Shadow. The weapon is designed to destroy high-value targets without significant collateral damage.

"Storm Shadow's precision greatly reduces this risk," Hoon said on March 24. "Early indications are that Storm Shadow's use has been highly successful. We hope to provide a more detailed briefing on Storm Shadow in the near future."