THE US AUTHORITIES are warning that Pakistan's Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (SUPARCO) is trying to acquire sensitive equipment and materials for the production of ballistic missiles.

Suparco has approached companies in several European countries with a shopping list, which includes composites, specialist alloys and a range of production and testing equipment.

SUPARCO has, for example, tried to buy electron-beam-welding equipment from a Cambridge UK-based company. The firm refused to supply the material and reported the approach to the UK Department of Trade and Industry's Export Control organisation.

The USA has issued written warnings about SUPARCO several times in the past year to member states of the Missile Technology Control Regime, the organisation, which seeks to limit the spread of long-range missiles in the Third World.

The USA has previously clashed with Pakistan over its alleged nuclear-weapons programme, blocking the delivery of Lockheed F-16s to the Pakistan air force.

Source: Flight International