- A home handyman is building a missile in his garage with
parts bought over the internet and shipped through Customs.
- Bruce Simpson has stated on his website that he intends
to construct "cruise missiles", which are taking shape in his
shed near Auckland.
- Security experts say the ease with which Mr Simpson has
obtained parts and built a working jet-engine is a warning that such weapons
could be built by the wrong people.
- They are divided over whether the missile plans he has
posted online encourage terrorism or simply raise awareness that the technology
is widely available.
- Mr Bruce Simpson, a 49-year-old internet developer, stated
on the website www.interestingprojects.com on April 29 that he would build
a cruise missile.
- He has already test-fired several noisy jet engines,
as neighbours up to 1km away have testified.
- Mr Simpson said that the missiles would not be used for
terrorism, but to test home-built jet engines.
- He said he was fascinated by pulse-jets, which are best
known for powering the German V1 flying bomb in World War 2. He has dedicated
four years to developing an improved version, called the X-Jet, which he
hopes to license.
- Mr Simpson posted details of the X-Jet online, and has
given step-by-step instructions on building a cruise missile.
- He was able to buy online the electronic parts needed
to guide the missile once fired and import them and was alarmed at the
ease with which he was able to pursue his project.
- "All this stuff is off the shelf," he said.
"It came in under the radar. It rang no alarm bells."
- Among the imported items are a radio control transmitter
and flight pack, global positioning gear, antennas, software, video camera
and a flight control system.
- Mr Simpson ordered them from overseas websites, they
were delivered within two weeks, and passed through customs with ease.
- Mr Simpson bought parts for the missile's body and wings
-- such as stainless steel, polystyrene sheets and fibreglass -- locally.
- Customs Service national investigations manager Matt
Roseingrave said he could not comment on Mr Simpson's imports for privacy
- However, he said many items could be imported that were
innocuous by themselves but which could be dangerous if altered or used
with other items.
- Neighbours don't seem to mind the noise when Mr Simpson
tests his jets.
- "It's real loud," said one. "We think,
`What the hell is that? Just Bruce Simpson with his flamin' motors'."
- Another said: "It gets to your eardrums a bit. We
joke about ringing noise control."
- Mr Simpson has been heavily involved with the Internet
since the mid-1990s, running news websites such as aardvark.co.nz and 7am.com.
- His missile site is entitled "A DIY Cruise Missile
-- watch me build one for under $5000".
- He said the site had received 250,000 hits in two weeks,
including many that appeared to be from United States military and security
- A DIY Cruise Missile -- watch me build one for under