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Czech Republic: U.S. Says Tamara System Overrated

Washington, 17 November 1997 (RFE/RL) - The U.S. Defense Department is challenging claims that a Czech-built electronic intelligence system can thwart the technology that enables some U.S. military aircraft to evade radar detection.

U.S. Defense Department spokesman Kenneth Bacon told reporters last week that there is no independent verification of the claim that the Tamara system made by the Czech Republic's private Tesla company can overcome radar evasion systems.

The contention became an issue in Washington last week when the "Washington Times" newspaper reported that Iraq was trying to obtain the system to enable it to locate and track U.S. jets protected by what is popularly called stealth technology. That is a system that makes it difficult for standard radar to find aircraft equipped with it.

The Czech Government said it was investigating the story. However, Czech Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus, on a visit to Washington last week, called the story nonsense and a provocation. He told U.S. Vice President Al Gore that Czech law would prohibit such a sale to Iraq. Tesla also denied the report.

Bacon, nevertheless, said claims that the Tamara system could overcome stealth were wrong. He also said newspaper reports calling the Tamara system a radar were wrong as well. Tamara, said Bacon, is what he called a family of devices that collect a variety of signals that, theoretically, can be analyzed electronically and used to pinpoint the location of an aircraft.