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Iranians Buying Missiles From Germany?

by soj Fri Feb 24th, 2006 at 11:50:39 AM EST

I'm only seeing this reported in English from two sources, Deutsche Welle and Reuters.


From Reuters, which seemingly has the scoop:

German police and customs officials investigating suspected espionage linked to missile technology raided 12 premises across four federal states on Thursday, the Federal Prosecutors' Office said.

An unspecified number of suspects connected with the premises were being interrogated by police, the Karlsruhe-based office said in a statement. The raids took place in the states of Baden-Wuerttemberg, Hesse, North Rhine-Westphalia and Saarland.

"The accused are suspected of attempting, in the service of a foreign intelligence agency, to obtain parts for delivery systems and conventional weaponry for armed forces," the statement said.

It was not immediately clear whether those being questioned were detained during Thursday's police raids.

Last month, German federal prosecutors formally charged two German citizens with espionage for helping an unidentified foreign intelligence agency acquire dual use "delivery system" missile technology.

A German official familiar with the case, speaking to Reuters on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the investigation, said the country involved was Iran. The federal prosecutor's office did not name the men or the German company they worked for.

Yowks! Of course this doesn't clarify whether what kind of missiles the ring was selling. They could be anything from short range surface-to-air missiles up to long-range ballistic or cruise missiles capable of carrying a nuclear warhead.

For German-language coverage see hier.

Peace

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Many western company's do business with Iran.  
The Iranians have some (oil)money to spend and are looking for stuff to arm their teeth.

So some cowboy's, and also some honest sellers try to make some money.  In Iraq pre-invasion time, the same happened.

But what can be sold to Iran and what not?

There is the legal barrier : general laws about exportation , exportation of arms and arm-related materials in particular.

Then there is political sensitive stuff.

There is also security....NATO and CIA are watching us.

On jan.30 in Belgium the chief of Security of the State had to resign . The official reason was that he overlooked a memo from the CIA(!) in wich they announced that a Belgian factory was selling sensitive material to Iran, endagering security.

In all the political wabeladoo who was responsible for what that Belgian factory exported succesfully their stuff, a isostatic press machine (specialists around here?).

This story was as far as I know not covered in foreign press.  In the Belgian press so far I saw nothing about this German spy-story.

I Think we will see happen things like that on a regular basis. Its about lots of money, lucrative opportunities, political rivalry in the grey zones
of our democracy's.

The struggle of man against tyranny is the struggle of memory against forgetting.(Kundera)

by Elco B (elcob at scarlet dot be) on Fri Feb 24th, 2006 at 01:18:19 PM EST
The Hot Isostatic Pressing process was developed by an American company in the 1970s for the aerospace industry.

The HIP process provides a method for producing components from diverse powdered materials, including metals and ceramics. During the manufacturing process, a powder mixture of several elements is placed in a container, typically a steel can. The container is subjected to elevated temperature and a very high vacuum to remove air and moisture from the powder. The container is then sealed and HIP'ed The application of high inert gas pressures and elevated temperatures results in the removal of internal voids and creates a strong metallurgical bond throughout the material. The result is a clean homogeneous material with a uniformly fine grain size and a near 100% density.

There is also Cold Isostatic Pressing.

Metal powders are contained in an enclosure e.g. a rubber membrane or a metallic can that is subjected to isostatic, that is uniform in all directions, external pressure. As the pressure is isostatic the as-pressed component is of uniform density. Irregularly shaped powder particles must be used to provide adequate green strength in the as-pressed component. This will then be sintered in a suitable atmosphere to yield the required product.

Normally this technique is only used for semi-fabricated products such as bars, billets, sheet, and roughly shaped components, all of which require considerable secondary operations to produce the final, accurately dimensioned component. Again, at economical working pressures, products are not fully dense and usually need additional working such as hot extrusion, hot rolling or forging to fully density the material.



Eats cheroots and leaves.
by NeutralObserver on Fri Feb 24th, 2006 at 04:35:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Euh.... ????
In plain English : that's a threat for our security?

The struggle of man against tyranny is the struggle of memory against forgetting.(Kundera)
by Elco B (elcob at scarlet dot be) on Fri Feb 24th, 2006 at 04:45:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's right here in plain English:
helping an unidentified foreign intelligence agency acquire dual use "delivery system" missile technology.
Anyone who watched the TV shows The A Team or McGyver knows that everything is "dual use technology".

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Feb 24th, 2006 at 04:50:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The machines are used for producing things like the turbine blades for aircraft engines, pump rotors and centrifuge rotors, where uniform density and strength are  important.

All have military applications.

Eats cheroots and leaves.

by NeutralObserver on Fri Feb 24th, 2006 at 06:20:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So, is a Hot or Cold Isostatic Press a necessary component for the manufacture of maraging steel? In the Gnomem00t the question was raised what Iran's metallurgic capabilities are like, specifically in connection with producing maraging steel for centrifugues for Uranium enrishment.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Feb 24th, 2006 at 04:53:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No, maraging steels are ones that ultra-low carbon steels. The carbon content in normal steel determines the hardness.

They use either Nickel-Titanium or Nickel-Molybdenum as the hardening component and keep the carbon content as low as possible.

Maraging steels are often used in low-temperature applications because they retain their toughness at lower temps than carbon-steel.

With respect to Iran and North Korea, maraging steel tubes were one of the embargoed products.

Eats cheroots and leaves.

by NeutralObserver on Fri Feb 24th, 2006 at 06:14:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm not sure what Iran's metallurgical capacities are, even if maraging steel can be produced locally the requirements for turning the steel into the tubing etc required is more likely to be the problem.

Eats cheroots and leaves.
by NeutralObserver on Fri Feb 24th, 2006 at 06:18:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No, I don't think it's related. I have only the vaguest ideas on metallurgy so take it with a pile of salt, though.

Maraging steel is a rather unusual alloy of iron, nickel and cobalt with other things in it (molybdenum, titanium, aluminium, silicon, copper ...) but no carbon (which is unusual for high-strength steel) with special heat treatment. But I haven't seen anywhere that manufacturing it requires a cold alloying. So I'd presume it uses normal alloying in liquid phase in a crucible.

The isostatic presses would rather be used for things like ceramics.
by Francois in Paris on Fri Feb 24th, 2006 at 06:35:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hey, when you need quality stuff, it's better to go directly to the source.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri Feb 24th, 2006 at 04:53:19 PM EST
Sure, the Germans invented the whole thing.
by Francois in Paris on Fri Feb 24th, 2006 at 06:37:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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