MTCR Guidelines and the Equipment, Software and Technology Annex

The Regime’s documents include the MTCR Guidelines and the Equipment, Software and Technology Annex. The Guidelines define the purpose of the MTCR and provide the overall structure and rules to guide the member countries and those adhering unilaterally to the Guidelines. The Equipment, Software and Technology Annex is designed to assist in implementing export controls on MTCR Annex items. The Annex is divided into “Category I” and “Category II” items. It includes a broad range of equipment and technology, both military and dual-use, that are relevant to missile development, production, and operation. Partner countries exercise restraint in the consideration of all transfers of items contained in the Annex. All such transfers are considered on a case by case basis.

Greatest restraint is applied to what are known as Category I items. These items include complete rocket systems (including ballistic missiles, space launch vehicles and sounding rockets) and unmanned air vehicle systems (including cruise missiles systems, target and reconnaissance drones) with capabilities exceeding a 300km/500kg range/payload threshold; production facilities for such systems; and major sub-systems including rocket stages, re-entry vehicles, rocket engines, guidance systems and warhead mechanisms.

The remainder of the annex is regarded as Category II, which includes complete rocket systems (including ballistic missiles systems, space launch vehicles and sounding rockets) and unmanned air vehicles (including cruise missile systems, target drones, and reconnaissance drones) not covered in item I, capable of a maximum range equal to or greater than, 300km. Also included are a wide range of equipment, material, and technologies, most of which have uses other than for missiles capable of delivering WMD. While still agreeing to exercise restraint, partners have greater flexibility in the treatment of Category II transfer applications.

The MTCR Guidelines specifically state that the Regime is “not designed to impede national space programs or international cooperation in such programs as long as such programs could not contribute to delivery systems for weapons of mass destruction.” MTCR partners are careful with SLV equipment and technology transfers, however, since the technology used in an SLV is virtually identical to that used in a ballistic missile, which poses genuine potential for missile proliferation.