Tomahawk Missiles, Raytheon, Campaign
Money, And the US Air Attacks:
What You Need to Know
by Lee Siu Hin
(Published: Winter 1999 issue, Covert Action Quarterly)
During the November US-Iraq crisis on the Gulf region, at the other side of the earth, a joint US-UK team quietly conducted a series of missile tests. On November 18th, British attack submarine HMS Splendid fired a Tomahawk cruise missile with 1,000-pounds explosive warhead, from 500 miles off the Southern California coast, traveled several hundred miles into a test target building on San Clemente Island, just 75 miles south of the Los Angeles 1. With two more similar test done on early November, using non-explosive warhead Tomahawks from the Splendid to US Navy test range at China Lake, California, marks a joint United States-UK efforts to built a UK-vision of Tomahawk missiles.
Amount the guests who witnessed the November 18th test, the Los Angeles-based British Consul-General Paul Dimond, he was impressed by the result. "The success of this test is a significant moment in the US-UK global security partnership," he said, "this new capability will enable the UK to be an even more effective partner with the United States and NATO in support of international diplomacy." 2
Since initial Iraqi crisis of January 1998, hundreds of
Tomahawk missiles had been travelling along with US war ships, deployed either
on Gulf region, Indian Ocean or Mediterranean Sea. When US launched nearly
hundred Tomahawk-missiles, to attack Sudan and Afghanistan on 20th August, and
300-plus Tomahawk missiles attacked Iraq on December, many military experts were
stunned by the number of missiles used by the US military, since its
effectiveness had always been questioned. During August attack on Afghanistan,
at least two malfunctioned Tomahawks were dropped into southern Pakistan,
killing several people; and December attacks on Iraq, some Tomahawk hit civilian
targets and some flew off-course into Iran, injured and killed several people.
Ironically none of these two attacks, had achieved what US militaryâs ultimate
goals÷to shoot and kill bin Laden and President Saddam Hussein and cripple their
Beside killing innocent civilian with limited military
success, how much did US military had spend to punish Sudan, Afghanistan and
Iraq? According to an initial estimate, bombing bin Laden ãhide outsä on August
20th cost America at least $100 million. Operation "Desert Fox" has spent at
least $1 billion since December 16th; and since the 1991 Gulf War, an average of
$50 billion per year goes toward maintaining the Gulf deployment and keeping the
Iraqi president in line, according to Associated Press reporter Laura
Not to mention the hundreds of millions of dollars spent on Kosovo between
September and October.
The August 20th missile attacks in Sudan and Afghanistan, as well as December missile attacks on Iraq involved huge amounts of money, manpower, and resources. The assaults were part of larger web involving campaign donations, international military sales, U.S. military budget and contracts, and the U.S. military build-up in the Middle East. The attacks were also meant to pave the way for the little known multi-billion dollar National Missile Defense Systemöthe revised "Star Wars" program.
Many people are now familiar with Tomahawk and Patriot
missiles, due to the 1991 Gulf War and the last yearâs Sudan, Afghanistan and
Iraq attacks. Not many know, however, that these weapons' manufacturer is Raytheon Company, one of the biggest
military contractors, based on Lexington, Massachusetts, with billions of
dollars in annual sales.
The Raytheon Connection
According to a recent leading aerospace publication, Aviation Week & Space Technology, the U.S. fired 79 cruise missiles at up to seven targets: a pharmaceutical plant in Khartoum, Sudan, and bin Laden's headquarters, training and support areas south of Kabul, Afghanistan; 66 of them went into Afghanistan and 13 into Sudan 4.
At about $750,000 each, the land-based Tomahawk cruise missile is more expensive than a conventional bomb delivered by manned aircraft. According to retired U.S. Navy Admiral Eugene J. Carroll, with regular maintenance costs and other expenses, the costs for the missile attacks on August 20th could be nearly $115 million of taxpayers' money. "It's a lot of money, far more then sending B-52s," he added 5. The rationale of using Tomahawk missiles for the attacksöto put no American aircrews at risk of death or captureöhas raised serious questions in the military community; it is often hard to judge exactly how effective missiles are with no close-range eyewitness.
After August 20th missile attacks, some former Persian Gulf war commanders said they were astounded by the number of Tomahawks used during the attacks. It is "a helluva lot of missiles,ä a former Desert Storm planner said, adding that during Desert Storm, they would never have dreamed of putting more than 8 or 12 Tomahawks on one target. In fact, commanders were ordered early in the Persian Gulf War to stop shooting the missiles because of the expense 6. So why did the U.S. military rush to burn over $100 million in one night in August against bin Laden, and close to a billion dollars within one week in December against Iraq, when there were other alternatives? Alternatives, such as political negotiation, or filing a complaint with the U.N. Security Council were all viable options.
For the last several years, Raytheon's Tomahawk missile has became one of the America's favorite weapons in foreign conflicts. In the last several U.S.-involved international crises, the Tomahawk has become a wild card for the military.
During the Kosovo crisis this past September and October, the U.S. deployed unspecified numbers of Tomahawks on warships in the Mediterranean Sea. During the Iraqi arms inspection crisis in November, 1998, the Pentagon deployed 250 to 300 Tomahawks aboard Navy ships and submarines plying the Persian Gulf. Although there are fewer ships in the region now than there were during the heat of the January-February Iraqi arms inspection crisis, the Pentagon has doubled the number of missilesömore than were used during the Persian Gulf war. According to an unidentified official 7, these Tomahawk missiles, and 50 or so combat aircraft aboard the aircraft carrier Dwight D. Eisenhower, could enable the U.S. to launch an attack against Iraq without having to spend days or weeks trying to secure permission from the Gulf states. Saudi Arabia and several other Middle East states were reluctant to do so this time. In fact that was exactly what happened in December, when the US launched hundreds of missiles to attack Iraq from the Indian Ocean, bypassing Arab states.
The publicity around these new weapons helped Raytheon's
sales and it had certainly helped the company to recover from its recent
financial trouble. According to their recent report, Raytheon's 3rd-quarter
profit dropped 95 percent from the same time last year and announced the
elimination of 14,000 Raytheon jobs over the next two years 8.
However, since fall, especially after the August air strike, Raytheon had been
receiving many big contracts with worth of billion of dollars; in addition, the
record of Raytheonâs 1998 campaign donations also seems to have helped
Raytheonâs sales as well.
The Campaign Money Connection
Have big corporate campaign donations like those from Raytheon to both the Republican and Democratic Parties influenced U.S. decisions about military spending?
During the period May to November 1998, financially troubled Raytheon received multi-billion dollar contracts from the U.S. military as well as from foreign countries. Raytheon also substantially increased its campaign donations during that time.
According to Aviation Week & Space Technology 9, not long before the air attack, Raytheon was chosen by the Navy to build the next generation Block 4 "Tactical Tomahawk," due to be operational in 2003. The current 2,700 Block 3 Tomahawksöprobably used in the August 20th attacksöare to be retired soon, because Raytheon and the Navy believe that it will be cheaper to build 1,353 new Block 4 Tomahawks than to improve the old ones.
On June 3rd, the Naval Air Systems Command's cruise missiles office awarded Raytheon $23.1 million for the Block 4 Tomahawk's engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) project. The entire EMD project will cost $275 million, ending in 2001. According to the plan, the missiles will be built between 2002 and 2007. With an estimated cost of $574,000 per missile, plus other related expenses, the total development and production costs will be about $1.1 billion. That's in addition to the $95 million for improvements on the Patriot Missile system, passed by the House of Representatives on March 31st.
According to the initial estimates of the Center for Responsive Politics (CRP) and FEC Info 10, the independent watchdogs of federal campaign money, they found Raytheon and its subsidiaries gave $625,579 in soft money and individual contributions during the 1995-1996 election cycle, and $330,192 in the first six months of the 1997-1998 cycle with $3,380,000 for lobbyists (Appendix One). In addition, according to the Center for Public Integrity 11, Raytheon is one of the most generous donors to members of Congress: House majority leader Dick Armey, for instance, received $48,201. Furthermore, according to the Federal Election Commission, Raytheon donated $138,700 in soft money to both the Democratic and Republican national campaign committees during this period.
Within six weeks after the August 20th attacks, Raytheon received several more big military contracts worth up to $4.1 billion 12, including:
1. September 14th: the Airforce awarded a $56.4
million contract to Raytheon Systems Co., a unit of Raytheon, for the upgrade of
1,950 Maverick missiles;
2. September 16th: the government approved the sale of nearly 7,000 Raytheon missiles, bombs and related accelerants plus thousands of training bombs costing $2 billion. (This sale was made to the United Arab Emirates, a small Gulf state of 2.3 million people.);
3. Early October: Raytheon was selected by Greece to provide more than $1.1 billion for Patriot missile defense systems, $145 million for an upgrade to Hawk Air Defense Systems, and more than $200 million for T6-A trainer aircraft-a total of $1.5 billion.
Between Novemberâs Iraqi crisis and US-UK military attacks on December 16th to 20th, the last two months of 1998 Raytheon received several lucrative contracts from the military, primary from US Navy, some of them include:
AEGIS: Raytheon received $78.4 million from the U.S. Navy Dec. 18 for fiscal year 1999 requirements for transmitter groups and MK 99 fire control systems for installation aboard DDG-51 class destroyers under the AEGIS shipbuilding program.
LPD-18: As a member of the Avondale Alliance, Raytheon anticipates receiving approximately $50 million for ship integration work on the LPD 18, the second ship in the LPD-17 series.
MK 2 SSDS: Earlier this month, Raytheon received approximately $22.5 million for three MK 2 ship self-defense systems (SSDS) in support of CVN 76, LPD 17 and LPD 18. The SSDS implements an evolutionary development of improved ship self-defense capabilities against high-speed, low-flying anti-ship cruise missiles.
JAVELIN: As part of a joint venture with Lockheed Martin, Raytheon will share on a 60/40 basis in an approximate $376.6 million contract awarded earlier this month for the purchase of the third year full rate production of the JAVELIN weapon system.
Raytheon Chairman William H. Swanson said it will expect to be have more than $18 billion contracts, both military and civilian orders by the end of 1998. As the result, Raytheonâs stock had reclaimed from its recent low to near 52-week high on late December, 1998.
Raytheon is not the only company doing this. Boeing,
Lockheed-Martin, and Northrop-Grumman are all eyeing the annual $270 billion
U.S. defense spending bills, plus billions of dollars of foreign military
markets. They are all quietly competing with each other for a bigger share of
the "weapons of the 21st century." This includes the largely unknown U.S.
National Missile Defense System (NMD), a mini-version of Ronald Reagan's "Star
Wars" with a price tag in the hundreds of billions of dollars. All of these
corporations are building the weapons for the U.S. to dominate the world
militarily in the next century.
The Military Connection
There is another overlooked aspect of the U.S. treatment of Iraq and the August 20th air strike: the legitimacy of U.S.'s continuous military presence in the Middle East and the Gulf region. Not surprisingly, after the October Kosovo crisis in the former Yugoslavia, in November the U.S. and Iraq suddenly went back to crisis mode again.
In January 21st, requested by Turkish Government the first shipment of a battery of U.S. Patriot missiles arrived to Turkey for "deployment in case of an escalation of conflict with neighbouring Iraq," a U.S. Defence Department spokesman said 13. On the same day the first members from the 69th Air Defence Artillery Brigade, near Giebelstadt, Germany, arrived to Incirlik Air Base 14 in southern Turkey, accompanied by some Patriot equipment. Defence Department spokesman Ken Bacon told a news briefing later that day, that the Patriots sent to Turkey were a ``minimum engagement package'' consisting of three missile launchers that would be deployed for about 30-60 days 15 .
Since the 1980s, the U.S. military has found a series of scapegoats to justify its intervention in the region: first Iran, then Iraq, then Somalia, next Sudan, and now, bin Laden, then backed to Iraqi president Saddam Hussein again.
The end of the cold war didn't scale down America's
military muscle building; on the contrary, it led to further military buildup
and accelerated development of the most advanced weapons systems.
The new U.S. military strategy is: focus on quality
rather than quantity, and arm with new-generation 21st century
conventional and tactical weapons to prepare for what President Clinton
calls "fighting two wars at the same time."
With Soviet power diminished, the U.S. wants to achieve
its long-term goal: domination of the world. In the short term, the U.S. still
needs to create imaginary enemies such as Iraq, North Korea, China, Sudan,
Serbs, and so on, to legitimize the U.S. military buildup, as well as the
continued military presence in the region. This includes several next-generation
war plane projects such as the Joint Strike Fighter, B-2 Bomber and YF-22 for
the Navy and Air Forceöinitial estimates put them at no less than $400 billion
over the next 20 years, to be built up to 6,000 units; several new aircraft
carriers; and possibly the $500 billion National Missile Defense Systemöa
copycat version of the 1980 "Star Wars" program. With a series of US military
threats and air strikes across the globe against the terrorists and military
dictators, this certainly will be a good excuse for the policy makers to justify
spending more money on weapons for the years to come.
1. Associated Press (AP), Nov 18th, 1998.
3. Laura Myers, "Annual US Gulf Cost Said At 50B," AP, Nov 17th, 1998. See also Laura Myers, "US Gulf Force Still Strong," AP, Nov 15th, 1998; Suanne M. Schafer, "US Gulf Force Still Substantial," AP, Nov 7th, 1998.
4. Aviation Week & Space Technology, August 31st, Pg 30.
5. Author's interview with Admiral Carroll from Center for Defense Information, September, 1998. He said although the price tag of the missile is around $750,000, it also need to add average additional $400,000 per missile for personnel, transportation, and maintenance cost. With 79 missiles used, he estimated total cost for the air strike is at least $91 million.
6. Aviation Week & Space Technology, August 31st, Pg32.
7. AP, Nov. 7, 1998.
8. Based on news wires and Raytheon PR materials.
9. Aviation Week & Space Technology, August 31st, Pg35.
10. Documents provided by FEC Info, Washington DC and Center for Responsive Politics, Washington DC.
11. Documents provided by Center for Public Integrity
12. AP, Nov. 7, 1998.
13. Reuters, Jan 21st, 1999. See also Robert Burns, "US to Help Turkey With Weapons," AP, Jan 15th, 1999.
14. Incirlik is a base for U.S. and British aircraft patrolling the Western-enforced no-fly zone in northern Iraq, set up after the 1991 Gulf War to protect Iraqi Kurds from possible attacks by Baghdad. The U.S. fighter planes from the base have attacked Iraqi air defences several times before in the northern exclusion zone
15. Reuters, Jan 21st, 1999.
Raytheon Campaign Donations
1. Federations of American Scientists: http://www.fas.org/index.html
2. Department of Defense DefenseLINK: http://www.defenselink.mil/
3. Defense News Online: http://www.defensenews.com/
4. Center for Defense Information: http://www.cdi.org/