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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Iraq Survey Group Final Report


Liquid-Propellant Missile Developments

Iraq demonstrated its ability to quickly develop and deploy liquid-propellant ballistic missiles, such as the Al Samud II, against UN guidelines. ISG believes that, given the order to proceed, Iraq had the capability, motivation and resources to rapidly move ahead with newer longer range ballistic missile designs.

Iraq began its indigenous liquid-propellant ballistic missile efforts in the early 1990s with the Ababil-100—later known as the Al Samud. These efforts lead to the more successful Al Samud II program, officially beginning in 2001. Through a series of debriefings of high-level officials from Iraq’s missile programs, together with document exploitation, ISG has been able to build a better understanding of the Al Samud II program. Although the infrastructure and technical expertise were available, there is no evidence suggesting Iraq intended to design CBW warheads for either the Al Samud or the Al Samud II system.

Early Liquid-Propellant Missile Efforts

As early as 1988, Iraq displayed ambitions to develop an indigenous, liquid-propellant ballistic missile. These early developmental efforts included the unsuccessful Fahad-300/500 and the G-1 projects. In 1992, an indigenous SA-2 replication (the Al Rafadiyan project) also failed but was tied with the Ababil-100 project. The Ababil project—initially intended as a compliance measure addressing the UN sanctions of 1991; limiting the range to 150 km and later renamed the Al Samud —began as a 500-mm-diameter missile designed by Dr. Hamid Khalil Al ?Azzawi and Gen Ra’ad Isma’il Jamil Al Adhami at Ibn-al Haytham. The program experienced various problems, especially with the missile’s stability. In 1993, Dr. Muzhir [Modher] Sadiq Saba’ Khamis Al Tamimi, then Director of both Al Karamah and Ibn-al Haytham, proposed a missile design, which was deemed more stable due to its having an increased diameter of 750 mm. After reviewing various designs of the Ababil project, UNSCOM restricted missile programs to having a diameter of no more than 600 mm in 1994. Husayn Kamil held a competitive design review between Dr. Muzhir’s new 600-mm-diameter design and Gen Ra’ad’s 500-mm design; Gen Ra’ad’s design succeeded. After several years of limited success at MIC, Gen Ra’ad was removed as the head of the program, and Dr. Muzhir was put in charge of the Al Samud program in 1999. Muzhir experimented with the design of the missile—increasing its reliability—but work on this program ceased in 2000. All efforts were then refocused on the Al Samud II project. See the Delivery Systems Annex for further information on Dr. Muzhir and Gen Ra’ad.

Diameter Restriction

On 17 March 1994, Rolf Ekeus, the Executive Chairman of UNSCOM, submitted a letter to ?Amir Muhammad Rashid Al ?Ubaydi concerning designs for the Ababil-100 liquid engine missile.

“. . . Iraq disclosed a new design for the Ababil-100 liquid engine missile still under research and development. . . this new design provided for a substantial increase of an airframe’s diameter, from 500 mm to 750 mm. Our analysis concluded that such a large diameter is not appropriate or justified for missiles with ranges less than 150 km. . . the Commission has to state that any increase of the diameter in the current design of the Ababil-100 liquid engine missile exceeding 600 mm is not permitted.”

Al Samud II

Iraq researched and developed the Al Samud II missile despite UN provisions, which prohibited such a system with its specification. Not only did the missile have range capabilities beyond the 150-km UN limit, but also Iraq procured prohibited items as well as received foreign technical assistance to develop and produce this system. ISG, which has developed a comprehensive history of the system, has no evidence indicating that Iraq was designing CBW warheads for the missile.

Huwaysh’s official approval for the Al Samud II diameter increase to 760 mm occurred in June 2001, despite the 1994 letter from UNSCOM Executive Chairman Rolf Ekeus specifying that UNSCOM restricted the diameter of Iraq’s Ababil-100 missile to less than 600 mm. According to officials within Iraq’s missile program, the 760-mm-diameter design was chosen because this gave the missile more stability than the unsuccessful smaller diameter missile and this dimension also allowed Iraq to use HY-2 components for the missiles.

  • According to a former Iraqi missile program official, Huwaysh approved the 760-mm-diameter design for the Al Samud II in June 2001. Engineers within the program strongly believed that the 500-mm diameter Al Samud was going to be unsuccessful from the very beginning. They had determined, based on their experience and knowledge of Soviet ballistic missile systems, the length/diameter (L/D) ratio of such missiles should be between 8 and 14 but that 12.5 was the optimum. See Figure 1 for a diagram of the Al Samud II missile and Figure 2 for a photo of the Al Samud II missile.
    • ISG believes that discussions of an “optimum” L/D are fallacious. Iraqi insistence that the diameter increase was intended solely to meet a specific L/D is more probably a ruse to increase the missile’s internal volume—ostensibly for increasing the fuel capacity—thereby further increasing the maximum range potential.
    • Although the L/D of the 760-mm-diameter design may be an improvement over that of the 500-mm-diameter designs, this is only one of many inter-dependant parameters contributing to the missile’s stability.
  • An Al Karamah official claimed that Dr. Muzhir, who had previously developed a 750-mm design by 1993, discovered that the airframe and ring assembly for the HY-2 cruise missile was based on a 760-mm diameter. Because of time constraints, these items could easily be used to quickly develop and manufacture his 760-mm-diameter missile. Figure 3 depicts an early Al Samud II using an HY-2 airframe.
  • Huwaysh stated that the larger diameter design allowed an additional fuel tank. ISG has not found evidence that Iraq intended to add an additional fuel tank to the Al Samud II.

The capability of the Al Samud II missile quickly showed a marked improvement over the unsuccessful Al Samud program. After several flight tests, the first of which occurred in August 2001, Iraq began a production ramp-up of the missile in September 2001. Several sources have corroborated Iraq’s efforts to improve the accuracy of the system, using components, expertise, and infrastructure from other missile programs to accelerate fielding the Al Samud II. The key parameters for the Al Samud II are listed in Table 1.

Table 1
Key Parameters of Al Samud II
Key Parameters
Propellants Fuel (TG-02) Oxidizer (AK20K)
Engine Modified SA-2 Engine (Volga)
Guidance and Control C601 and C611 gyroscopes
Body Aluminum Alloy with Stainless Steel Rings
  • A senior official within Iraq’s missile program stated that the Al Samud II used gyroscopes taken from the guidance system of C601 and C611 cruise missiles.
  • Up to November 2002, a timer system was used by Al Karamah to provide a simple determination of the time for engine cut-off, regardless of the velocity achieved. After that date, the timer was replaced by an integrating axial accelerometer in the analog control system, which was designed to provide an accurate determination of the engine cut-off velocity. This consisted of an AK-5 accelerometer integrated into the control system, calculating the missile velocity using digital integration of the axial acceleration. This modified control system would issue the engine shut down command signal when the target velocity had been reached. A range count, similar to that of the Scud and Al Husayn missiles, could be entered from the launcher to preset the missile range using prelaunch data.
  • Al Karamah also began the design of a completely digital compensator to be used in place of the analog compensator. The compensator is an analog computer designed to calculate the corrections necessary to maintain missile attitude and flightpath to the target. The digital compensator is very similar to an onboard flight computer. It was to be ready for use by June or July 2003.

The guidance system for the Al Samud II provides outputs to the control system that provide corrective signals to the 4 graphite jet vanes, redirecting the thrust vector of the modified SA-2 Volga engine. This arrangement, similar to the Scud, provides control in 3 axes, but only during the powered portion of flight. The missile reaches apogee as the powered portion of flight ends (approximately 83 seconds in the case of the Al Samud II). The missile is unguided after thrust termination and in a free-fall ballistic flight until impact. This limitation, coupled with the inaccuracies of the guidance and control system, resulted in large miss-distances.

A senior source at Al Karamah informed ISG of a developmental effort to improve the accuracy of the Al Samud II using aerodynamic controls on the inboard sections of the aft stabilization fins. A high-pressure gas bottle would be used to supply air pressure to drive pneumatic-controlled actuators that provide aerodynamic control throughout both the missile’s powered flight and through reentry. This improvement in control would have been incorporated following the completion of the initial guidance testing, most likely entering testing as early as the end of 2003.

  • Around 1999, Iraq was working to import new, modern, complete guidance packages from Russian and FRY entities.
  • Iraq was intending to purchase Inertial Navigation Systems (INS), fiber-optic systems, and high-precision machinery for indigenous production of guidance and control components.

Iraq relied on foreign assistance to develop the Al Samud II program from its early beginnings. ISG has uncovered Iraqi efforts to obtain technical expertise and prohibited items from other countries.

  • Russian experts contracted through ARMOS assisted with indigenous production as well as the interface between imported guidance systems and the Al Samud II missile.
  • A high-level official admitted that Iraq received approximately 280 SA-2 engines through the Polish company Evax by the end of 2001, followed by an additional 100 engines from Al Rawa’a.
  • According to a former high-level civilian official, Iraq brought foreign experts into the country to assist in its missile programs.

Although advancements in the Al Samud II program were achieved quickly, shortage of necessary components limited production. Several sources estimated the number of missiles produced and delivered to the Army by OIF. Because these accounts vary and are not fully supported by documentary evidence, ISG has compared these claims with earlier information to develop a potential materiel balance for the missiles. See Delivery Systems Annex for more details.

  • According to a former high-level official, Iraq began serial production of the Al Samud II missile beginning in December 2001. The production goal was to yield 10 full missiles a month. ISG believes that, because of a lack of certain components, Iraq did not always meet this monthly quota, while in some months they may have surpassed it—the production was dependent upon their success at importing components.

Iraq declared the Samud II system to the UN in its CAFCD in December 2002, disclosing the 760-mm-diameter along with an 83-second engine burn time. Additionally, Iraq admitted in its semi-annual monitoring declarations that the system had exceeded 150 km on at least 13 occasions during flight tests. Because of this, UNMOVIC Executive Chairman Hans Blix, before the UN Security Council in December 2002, ordered Iraq to freeze all flight tests of the Al Samud II program until technical discussions could occur to determine the capability of the missile.

  • According to a former senior official at Al Karamah, Iraq produced approximately 20 missiles during the first quarter of 2003.
  • Another source claimed that, after UNMOVIC inspectors departed the country in March 2003, Iraq was able to assemble about 4 Al Samud II missiles from remaining parts that had been placed in mobile trucks to avoid air strikes. These missiles were not delivered to the Army.

A missile requires a SAFF system to ensure that the warhead is safe to handle and remains unarmed until it has been launched, and then detonates when intended. After launch the SAFF system will activate the firing system and arm the warhead. Detonation of the explosive warhead charge is initiated by the fuze. Common fuzes used by Iraq include timer switches, accelerometers, barometric devices and impact switches (impact switches are either inertia [nose and tail fuzes] or crush [nose fuze only] and can be used as the primary fuze or as a backup to ensure detonation if other fuzing systems fail). For the Al Samud and Al Fat’h warheads, the impact or crush switch was located in the nose tip and activated by the impact of the warhead with the ground. The basic design of the high-explosive (HE) warhead was common between the two missiles and could be interchanged if needed with minimal modifications. The most likely composition of the explosive mixture was 60% TNT, 30% RDX, and 10% aluminum powder.

The submunition warhead developed for the Al Fat’h missile had an airburst fuze to ensure the effective dispersal of the submunitions (bomblets). The warhead contained up to 900 KB-1 anti-tank/anti-personnel (ATAP) submunitions.

Al Samud II Determined To Be an Illegal System

During a UN technical discussion in February 2003, an International Team of missile experts concluded that the Al Samud II missile had range capabilities well beyond the imposed 150-km limit. The UN then ordered Iraq to destroy the Al Samud II and associated support equipment specific to the system. UNMOVIC supervised the destruction of 72 missiles and 3 launchers in March. Due to the inconsistencies in source reporting and the lack of documentary evidence available, ISG has been unable to accurately reconcile the status of the Al Samud II inventory. Refer to the Delivery Systems Annex for an assessment of the Al Samud II missile material balance.

Iraqi Ballistic Missile Warheads

Iraq developed a unitary high-explosive (HE) warhead for delivery by both the Al Samud and Al Fat’h missiles. Iraq also developed a submunition warhead for the Al Fat’h and intended to develop a cluster warhead for the Al Samud.

Traditionally, the payload or warhead of a missile can be defined as an explosive or weapons package, the shell in which the weapons package is contained, and the Safe, Arm, Fuze and Fire (SAFF) system.

Al Samud Warhead

ISG has not discovered any information to suggest that Iraq had considered or designed bulk-filled CBW warheads for the Al Samud. An impact detonation would be an inefficient method for disseminating chemical or biological agents, as the heat and shock of an explosive detonation could destroy much, if not all, of the agents.

  • Although ISG has recovered no evidence to suggest that “special” warheads were developed for the Al Samuds, the warhead is a direct extrapolation of the impact warhead design for the Scud and Al Husayn missiles and could be modified in the same way Iraq modified the Al Husayn HE warhead to produce crude CBW warheads.
  • Iraq retained the intellectual capital for reproducing these kinds of “special” warhead designs, so modification and production of this crude type of warhead could be achieved in a matter of weeks with a relatively small team of specialized individuals.

The Al Samud I was designed to carry a unitary HE warhead, and Iraq apparently intended to develop a conventional submunition warhead for the missile. The Al Samud HE warhead is an extrapolation of the Scud warhead design and was later adopted for the Al Fat’h missile. Development of the warhead took about eight months and was completed in the summer of 1994. The Al Samud warhead components are listed in Table 2.

The original Al Samud warhead has a 500-mm-base-diameter and is 2 meters long with a design payload mass of 300 kg. The fuze mechanism is similar to that of the Scud missile. The original warhead design contained one forward booster and two rear boosters at the base of the warhead, one of which serves to provide uniform detonation in the system, the other as an auto destruct mechanism in case the missile deviates from its predetermined trajectory. Because Iraq lacked confidence in the accuracy of the guidance and control system, the backup and emergency boosters were never incorporated, leaving a single forward booster. An impact crush switch is incorporated into the graphite nose of the warhead (see Figure 4, Al Samud warhead design).

Iraq’s desire to achieve 150-km range resulted in a quick modification to reduce the payload mass from 300 kg to 200-250 kg with 100-120 kg of HE, according to a senior missile official.

  • Iraq reduced the warhead mass by relocating the base plate and bulkhead forward into the warhead body, which reduced the available HE volume.
  • Warhead modifications continued into 2001. A flight test in late 2001 used better constructed cylindrical and conical parts of the warhead with a payload of 240 kg and achieved a range of 151 km.
Table 2
Nose Tip
Outer shell 2-mm rolled steel
Insulation layer 3-mm Asbestos
Inner Shell 1-mm rolled steel
Fuze Impact or crush switch housed in nose tip
Booster x 3 The third booster acts as a safety mechanism, detonating if the missile deviates from its predetermined trajectory
Filler 60% RDX, 30% TNT, 10% aluminum powder

After succeeding with the unitary HE warhead, Iraq intended to develop a submunition warhead for the Al Samud, according to a senior Iraqi missile developer. However, no submunition warheads for either Al Samud or Al Samud II were manufactured.

Al Samud II Warhead

ISG has not discovered information to suggest that Iraq had considered or designed CBW warheads for the Al Samud II. The Al Samud II was designed to carry a unitary HE warhead, which is an extrapolation of the Scud and Al Samud warhead designs. At the end of June 2001, Al Karamah modified the Al Samud warhead to accommodate the increase in diameter from 500 mm to 760 mm. A design payload of 300 kg for Al Samud was agreed to with the UN, but the actual payload was 280 kg.

  • Iraq manufactured a new warhead shell with a 760-mm-base-diameter and a length of 2,142 mm. The HE was housed in the forward section of the warhead and additional space reserved in the base for an air bottle that would provide pneumatics to control surfaces yet to be implemented in the missile fins (see Guidance and Control section). To compensate for the additional weight of the warhead shell and guidance system, the amount of HE was reduced.
  • The booster for the emergency detonator was to be reinstalled, once confidence was gained in the guidance system. Figure 5 shows a schematic diagram of the Al Samud II warhead with gyroscope housings at the base of the warhead and notional emergency booster rod illustrated with dotted lines.

Within two weeks, Al Karamah produced a prototype that was tested at Al Qayyarah, a site belonging to the Air Force. The test successfully demonstrated the fragmentation and blast radius, resulting in design approval from the Army.

Between January and November 2002, Al Karamah and Al Qa’Qa’a conducted a study to improve the effectiveness of the Al Samud warhead.
The study was to investigate two aspects of the warhead:

  • Methods by which the density of the explosive material could be increased; and
  • How the blast effect of the warhead could be improved.

The theoretical filling requirements for the study of the Al Samud II warhead were:

  • Total weight: 280 kg
  • Explosive charge weight: 140 kg
  • Warhead metal container weight: 140 kg
  • Composition of explosive mixture: 60% RDX= 84 kg, 30% TNT= 42 kg & 10% AL= 14 kg.

Filling of the Al Samud warhead was a manual process; however, the study recommended that compressing the explosive material into the warhead by using a hydraulic press would improve the density and thus effectiveness and safe handling of the explosive material.


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