June 3, 2003

New Zealand Man Building Cruise Missile in Garage

AUCKLAND (AFP) -- A New Zealand home handyman is building a do-it-yourself cruise missile with legal, off-the-shelf equipment and claims he can do it for under 5,000 US dollars.

But the activities of Bruce Simpson were Tuesday attracting official interest, particularly as he has now test fired several jet engines.

On his website (www.interestingprojects.com/cruisemissile) Simpson says he was challenged by US military experts over his claim the missile could easily be built.

"So, in order to prove my case, I decided to put my money where my mouth is and build a cruise missile in my own garage, on a budget of just 5,000 US dollars," the 49-year-old Internet developer says.

"Obviously the goal of this website is not to provide terrorists or other nefarious types with the plans for a working cruise missile but to prove the point that nations need to be prepared for this type of sophisticated attack from within their own borders."

He said he managed to acquire most of the parts from the online auction house eBay, including a GPS system purchased for 120 US dollars that "was delivered by international airmail in less than a week and passed through customs without any problems."

The initial procurement is so far the only one of 15 stages of development completed in Simpson's missile diary.

Simpson told Radio New Zealand it was a crude missile but it was easy enough to make and he expected to have it flying by the end of the month.

"It's like a small aircraft powered by a jet engine," he said, which could easily reach a chosen destination up to 100 kilometres (62 miles) away, carrying a 10-kilogram (22-pound) payload.

Authorities were reluctant to comment Tuesday but it was clear they were taken an interest in the project.

The Defence Department would not comment but one official told the New Zealand Herald that Simpson's website could be violating the international Missile Technology Control Regime, under which New Zealand has agreed to restrict the availability of missile technology.


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