The General Accounting Office, a Congressional investigative arm, concluded in a study made public Tuesday that procurement of the bombs would be ''premature'' because of ''continuing technical problems. Financing for the bomb, known as Bigeye, has been spread among the services over its history. But Congress denied all financing for new chemical weapons in the Defense Department authorization bill passed last month. Public information about the status of the Defense Department's chemical warfare program is rare, with most of it coming from occasional Congressional hearings.
The four-page G.
The Bigeye program, which dates to , is devoted to building a chemical bomb in which two nonlethal substances mix to form lethal nerve gas. Chemical munitions currently in the American arsenal, all of which were manufactured before President Nixon declared a moratorium in , contain ready-made nerve gas. In the Bigeye, sulfur powder and a liquid known as QL combine to make the nerve agent VX, which has the consistency of heavy lubricating oil and would be sprayed by the bomb over the target.
Problem With Pressure. According to the General Accounting Office report, mixing these ingredients inside the Bigeye on planes creates pressure that can rupture the bomb's metal casing. This problem, first found in , ''has not been solved,'' the report said. Instead of mixing the ingredients on the bomber, the new method ''requires the aircraft to fly in low in order to avoid enemy antiaircraft fire.
View all New York Times newsletters. Just before releasing the Bigeye, about two to three miles from the target, the bomber ''quickly climbs from about feet to about feet'' and then ''lofts'' the weapon forward, according to the report.
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Chemical mixing occurs after the Bigeye leaves the plane. Earlier Testimony Contradicted. The analysis was at odds with testimony by Theodore S. Gold told the committee in defense of the Bigeye budget request. Acknowledging the hazardous pressure buildup and the new bombing technique, he said the problem ''has been addressed'' and the ''solution demonstrated.
The accounting office report said that ''the Bigeye bomb cannot meet the operational temperature requirement minus 40 degrees Fahrenheit to degrees Fahrenheit for producing VX with the minimum purity. According to a study by the Congressional Research Service released last April, the chemical reaction that produces VX is complete in about five seconds. Protesters waved party and Serbian flags and placards addressed to Mr Milosevic calling for "change" and the president's "dismissal".
A group of some 30 people carried a banner saying: "Serbs from Kosovo". Opposition activists were distributing leaflets bearing the slogan "Dismissal" and small paper flags to passers-by.
Two activists of the Democratic Party DS were beaten earlier yesterday by three men, one of them carrying a gun, in central Belgrade, the independent news agency, Beta, reported. Earlier, Mr Vuk Draskovic, leader of the opposition Serbian Renewal Movement SPO , dealt a blow to the organisers of the rally, saying it was too late to demand a transitional government, the demonstration's main theme. The idea of a transitional government was proposed by a group of independent Serbian economists, the G, and has been supported by many opposition parties, including the SPO.
Serbian elections could be brought forward and held in November, Beta reported on Wednesday. It quoted sources close to ruling and opposition parties. Earlier this week, Mr Draskovic said the SPO would be prepared to participate in early elections if a repressive information law was revoked.
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He also called for changes in electoral law. It is obvious they do not want to negotiate about that," said Mr Pribicevic, when asked why the SPO had changed its policy.
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The highest representatives of the ruling coalition have been repeatedly saying that the regime is ready to call early elections. Mr Draskovic had dealt a first blow to last night's rally when he announced on Tuesday that he would not address the crowd and that Mr Spasoje Krunic, another SPO official, would make a speech instead.
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The KLA is scheduled to disband in another month, opening the way for elections next year and a return to civil government. Meanwhile, EU foreign ministers will discuss the future of sanctions on Yugoslavia at a scheduled informal meeting in Saariselka, Finland, in two weeks' time, officials said yesterday. The sanctions, imposed for the last two years over Belgrade's crackdown on ethnic Albanians in Kosovo, will be part of a broad discussion on the EU's Yugoslavia policy.
Some 1, Gypsies from Kosovo arrived in the port of Bari, southern Italy, yesterday. The refugees, who left Montenegro on Tuesday, were located by the Italian navy in the Adriatic and their metre vessel taken in tow.
At least 40 people, who fell overboard as the vessel pitched and rolled, were rescued by the navy. The refugees included children.