Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2004/05/20/us_buys_vera_stealth/

Where'd we put 'em? US to buy Stealth bomber detecting radar

Stymies sale to China

By John Lettice

Posted in Bootnotes, 20th May 2004 13:30 GMT

The one country that surely doesn't need to find out where Stealth bombers might be is buying a radar system that is claimed to be able to detect them. The USA is reported to be negotiating to buy a set of Vera radars from the Czechs, the quid pro quo being that a deal to sell them to China does not go ahead.

Vera is the successor to the Tamara radar system, which has been alleged to have been responsible for the loss of an F-117 in Kosovo. This was also the subject of a panic two years ago when it was suspected two systems were among the many fiendish toys that Saddam Hussein had acquired. As these appear not to have shown up in Iraq, we can presumably carry on panicking about who else has got them.

The rationale behind the current proposed US purchase is that the US wants to test the radar's effectiveness. But it is also reportedly concerned that China could use the system to detect US ships and aircraft off Taiwan. The Chinese deal was worth $55.5m, but the Czech government is now expected cancel the export licence. Proprietors of suspect countries wishing to earn commission from future Vera sales to the US government should presumably contact Czech weapons company Thomas CZ, and remember to write a large cancellation fee into the contract. ®

Related stories:

Stealth detection system disappears from screens