Derry company admits making military software
Arms manufacturer Raytheon has confirmed to Derry City Council that their Derry base is involved in developing military software for the Ministry of Defence (MoD)
Arms manufacturer Raytheon has confirmed to Derry City Council that their Derry base is involved in developing military software for the Ministry of Defence (MoD). Sinn Fein, which had previously supported the company's base in Derry on the basis that there was no military manufacturing at the plant, have now withdrawn its support and the council is going to reconsider its position at the next council meeting.
Without the support of the council Raytheon may have to pull out of Derry. In an internal document Raytheon says that if the council fails to back their project "the future of NISCC (Raythoen's Derry division) is uncertain."
Three weeks ago the Belfast Telegraph published Freedom of Information documents showing that the Raytheon Derry plant was involved in the development of the Ministry of Defence's JETTS system since early 2005. The JETTS system, according to a Raytheon press release, improves operational capability in battle by enchaining surprise, tactical agility, lethality and survivability.
Raytheon was awarded the lucrative contract just six months after it gave assurances to Derry City Council (DCC) that they would not be involved in military projects. Raytheon are an international arms manufacturing company specialising in defence and are the single largest manufacturer of guided missiles in the world. There has been wide scale public opposition to Raytheon in Derry and in August the Derry Anti-War Coalition occupied the offices in Derry. Nine of the protestors have now been charged with unlawful assembly and aggravated burglary and are accused of causing €300,000 worth of damage at the plant.
In January 2004 DCC passed a motion declaring their opposition to the "development or production of weapons or any software whose end use is a military application… and if that is shown to be the case at Raytheon in Derry then council's position will change." On 9 October Raytheon confirmed to DCC that they were engaged in developing such programmes.
Village has seen the Freedom of Information documents released through Invest Northern Ireland relating to the JETTS programme. These show that Raytheon felt council support was key to their success in Derry. They say: "Key issue for NISSC on this contract will be the attitude of the council…The MoD are looking for acceptance in principle that the council have no objections regarding this work.
They go on: "This is a key contract regarding the future of NISSC, it can open the door to future MoD contracts. However if the council are reluctant to back the project then the future of NISCC is uncertain."
Now that the council's largest party, Sinn Fein have withdrawn support Raytheon's future in Derry is uncertain.