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'Prudent Yet Restrained'

October 30, 1987

I read John M. Broder's commentary on the "antique" Chinese Silkworm missile (Op-Ed Page, Oct. 17).

He describes that the missile is a Chinese copy of the Soviet SS-N-2 (Styx) cruise missile, first built in 1959 and that it "is not highly accurate." However, Broder has a very poor sense of history. The Styx and its current incarnation the Silkworm have sunk or seriously damaged more naval vessels in different conflicts than any other missiles in history! In October, 1967, the Israeli destroyer Elath was sunk by Styx cruise missiles, and in 1971 the Indians sank one Pakistani destroyer and badly damaged a second with these same cruise missiles.

Broder does not realize that ships without adequate defense systems are very vulnerable to such missiles, no matter what their age or technological capability. (This was also demonstrated during the 1982 Falklands War.)

EDMUND H. CONROW

Culver City

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