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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Iraq Survey Group Final Report


Large-Diameter Solid-Propellant Missile Project

In 2000 or 2001, Iraq began development efforts toward a long-range, solid-propellant ballistic missile that would, when fully developed, greatly exceed the 150-km-range limit imposed by UNSCR 687. Further, the program appears to have been highly compartmented and virtually undocumented. Destruction of infrastructure previously associated with prohibited programs in accordance with UNSCR 687 effectively limited Iraq’s pursuits to research and development efforts.

Program Development

Iraqi desire for a long range, solid-propellant ballistic missile system in 2000-2001 can be traced to the BADR-2000 program from the mid-1980s. This program would have produced a two-stage, 750-km-range ballistic missile system using a 0.8-meter-diameter solid-propellant motor as the first stage.

Reports vary, but, beginning in 2000-2001, and maybe even earlier, Iraq again decided to pursue a long-range solid-propellant missile.

  • Starting perhaps as early as 1998 or in 2000-2001, Huwaysh ordered the design of a long-range solid-propellant ballistic missile according to several senior missile officials.
  • According to Huwaysh, in early 2002, Saddam ordered the construction of a missile with a minimum range of 650 km. Huwaysh then directed Dr. Muzhir Sadiq Saba’ Khamis Al Tamimi and ‘Abd-al-Baqi Rashid Shia’ Al Ta’i to conduct feasibility studies of such a missile, one as a liquid and one as a solid.

Although it is unclear when the program started or what the range requirements were, Huwaysh in 2000 or 2001 formed a small, select Large Diameter Missile (LDM) committee and reportedly tasked the committee with developing a 400-km-range solid-propellant ballistic missile, according to senior Iraqi missile officials.

  • One senior Iraqi official reports the committee consisted of Huwaysh, ‘Abd-al-Baqi Rashid Shia’ Al Ta’i (DG of the Al Rashid General Company), Mar’uf Mahmud Salim Al Jalabi (DG of the Al Fat’h General Company), Muzahim (probably Staff Lt Gen Muzahim Sa’b Hasan Muhammad Al Nasiri, Senior Deputy to the MIC Director), and Muzhir Sadiq Saba’ Al Tamimi (DG of the Al Karamah General Company).
  • There are conflicting numbers for the required range of this missile. Various high-ranking former Iraqi officials have offered range requirements of 400 km, 500 km, at least 650 km, 400 to 1,000 km, 500 to 1,000 km, 1,000 km, or 1,000 to 1,200 km. Further, a payload of 500 to 1,000 kg was mandated, depending on the source of the reporting.

By the late 1990s, Iraq’s composite, solid-propellant ballistic missile capabilities were centered in the Al Rashid General Company and the Al Fat’h General Company, but only Al Rashid pursued development of the long-range missile. According to a senior missile official from Al Rashid, Huwaysh ordered the development of a solid-propellant missile with a range of at least 600 km carrying a payload of 500 to 1,000 kg.

  • According to senior Iraqi officials, there were no written records of the development effort, and all affected computer hard-drives were reformatted prior to the return of UN inspectors in 2002.
  • While it appears that only one long-range solid-propellant development effort was pursued, the compartmented nature of the program led some Iraqi officials to believe there may have been multiple efforts.
  • The solid-propellant development effort undertaken by the Al Rashid General Company was augmented with personnel from the Al Fat’h General Company and other MIC entities including Hashem ‘Abd Al Muhammad of Al Amin factory, Brigadier ‘Abd-al-Hamid of Al Karamah (warheads), Al Jalabi of Al Fat’h (propellant), and Brigadier Hashim of Al Fida’ General Company (launcher).
  • A senior Iraqi official stated the Al Rashid-based design effort consisted of ‘Abd-al-Baqi, Dr. Sa’d Tami Hamidi Al ‘Anbaki (Chief of the Engineering Department), Sadday Ibrahim (Engineer), Dr. Sa’d Mahmud Ahmad (Propellant Chemist), and Sa’d Muhammad (senior Al Rashid official). According to this source, Al Rashid was pursuing a 600-km-range missile.

The Al Rashid effort went forward in 2001. The initial concept based on a cluster of three Al Fat’h motors was rejected because of modeling limitations. The selected design consisted of a 0.8- or 1.0-meter-diameter motor that may have been based on the BADR-2000 design.

  • The design reportedly would involve a missile 6 to 7 meters long with an accuracy of 2% of the range flown for a spin-stabilized version and 3 to 5% for an unguided version.
  • The solid rocket motor would have had a propellant mass of 4,000 to 5,500 kg as compared with an Al Fat’h motor propellant mass of 828 kg.

Al Rashid moved forward with rocket motor development efforts. Iraq attempted to use a barrel section from the Supergun project to create a prototype 1.0-meter-diameter motor case, but the effort failed because of material incompatibilities when Iraqi technicians were unable to weld the Supergun section to the motor end domes.

  • All associated materials were either destroyed prior to the arrival of UNMOVIC in 2002 or reused as motor casting chambers.
  • Most of the reporting on this development effort does not specify the type of warhead envisioned, with three exceptions. One senior Iraqi specifically stated the missile was developed for a chemical payload, while two another - specifically stated the warhead would be high explosive. ISG found no evidence to support either claim.

While Al Rashid was pursuing the long-range design, a senior Al Rashid official apparently had doubts that it could be completed. Although he reportedly never formally stated the missile could not be developed, he apparently did inform Huwaysh sometime in 2001-2002 of limitations in Iraq’s solid-propellant infrastructure, stating that a missile with a range of 650 km would require 5.5 tons of propellant. Huwaysh reportedly informed Saddam Husayn.

  • Although still limited, Iraq had made substantial infrastructure improvements that would have improved its ability to manufacture large motors. At least one of the 300-gallon propellant mixers “destroyed” by UNSCOM was repaired; Iraq tried, unsuccessfully by the time of the return of the UNMOVIC inspectors, to repair the second. In addition, casting pits, annealing furnaces, and test stands needed for development of long-range solid-propellant missiles were repaired, modified, or created.
  • Had the effort continued, a long-range solid-propellant missile could have been produced within 5 years, according to one senior Iraqi missile developer.
  • According to an engineer in the Iraqi missile program, in early 2001 per directive of Huwaysh, a study was undertaken by the Al Fida’ General Company to design a solid-propellant missile launcher for a missile with a range of 500 km. Work on this project ceased upon the arrival of UNMOVIC inspectors. Documentation of this project was destroyed with the exception of engineering designs for the launcher shown in Figure 20.


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