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German Contract for 'Star Wars' Called a U.S. 'Con-Job'

July 15, 1986|From Reuters

BONN — The opposition Social Democratic Party on Monday called West Germany's first "Star Wars" contract a "cheap con-job" by the United States.

Party defense spokesman Andreas von Buelow told the Neue Osnabrueck newspaper that the $4-million contract awarded on Friday to the aerospace firm Messerschmitt-Boelkow-Blohm (MBB) to develop an infra-red tracking device for the project is laughable.

It did not support the claim by ruling conservatives that the U.S. Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), as the "Star Wars" plan for an anti-missile defense is officially known, contained "great opportunities" for German industry, he said.

Von Buelow said the contract was worth about 12% of the value of one Tornado fighter plane, which MBB makes by the hundreds as part of the European Panavia consortium.

An MBB spokesman said at the weekend that the value of the SDI contract could total $39 million if Washington eventually opted for a German-designed system.

Von Buelow claimed that West German industry would get almost nothing from SDI, whereas its participation would be politically "highly disastrous" because the plan was obstructing an East-West understanding.

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