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Q: Legal to build/own a cruise missile? ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   0 Comments )
Subject: Legal to build/own a cruise missile?
Category: Reference, Education and News > General Reference
Asked by: sagora-ga
List Price: $3.50
Posted: 30 May 2003 17:47 PDT
Expires: 29 Jun 2003 17:47 PDT
Question ID: 210967
Is it legal for an American, as an individual, to build and own a
cruise missile (or, really, any kind of missile)?
Subject: Re: Legal to build/own a cruise missile?
Answered By: skermit-ga on 30 May 2003 18:56 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Interestingly enough, somebody is trying to accomplish this right now
and has a webpage based on a do it yourself <$5,000 pulse jet cruise
missle project. His plans call for a 10kg payload which isn't much if
you're considering explosives, but could be a downright catostrophy
when considering possible biological/chemical payloads. I found out
about this project through a article I remembered reading
from a couple weeks ago, and from the author's website, where his
proof of concept project aims to produce a self-guided "cruise" missle

Obviously, given the budget of $5,000 and the fact that all components
will be "off the shelf" items, some compromises have to be made:
-Limited range, but at least 100 miles (160 Kms) 
-Limited payload capacity, but at least 22lbs (10 Kgs) 
-Limited accuracy, but at least +- 100 yards (100m) 

which has these capabilities:

-Satellite-based (GPS) guidance and targeting 
-A form of inertial (or other) backup guidance 
-Jet-powered for high speed, minimum flight-times 
-Low radar signature to reduce detectability 
-Fully autonomous flight capabilities 
-Onboard realitme video 

As far as the legality is concerned, that's a bit shaky. He's not
procured the payload yet, and probably won't, he's concerned with the
technology invovled in propelling and guiding such a device. A
commentor on the original article wrote:

If you have all the parts that you need to make a cruise missile, it
is a destructive device under federal law and you're looking at 10
years in prison without the proper licenses. A destructive device is,
among other things, "any explosive, incendiary, or poison gas. .
.rocket having a propellant charge of more than four ounces, (D)
missile having an explosive or incendiary charge of more than
one-quarter ounce, (E) mine, or (F) similar device" or any part or
combination of parts from which a destructive device can be assembled.
28 U.S.C. 5845(f) []. To manufacture a destructive device in
the U.S. you have to apply to the ATF for a manufacturer's license
[], which is $3,000 every three years and you have to
register each destructive device and its components.

Just having the required parts necessary to build this device would be
illegal, but another commentor was quick to point out that the author
doesn't live in the US but rather in New Zealand, but has his ongoing
diary (still in the planning phases) online for the world to read.

But back to the question at hand, I'll refer you to the full National
Firearms Act of the ATF, Title 26 of the United States Code Chapter 53
FIREARMS for the last letter of the law.

Search Strategy:

"build your own cruise missile" slashdot on google:

Additional Links:

Slashdot article and discussion:

<$5,000 Cruise missle article and website:

National Firearms Act:

Thank you for your question!

sagora-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars

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