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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Iraq Survey Group Final Report


Carbon Fiber Filament Winding

Starting in 2001, Iraq began a program to develop carbon fiber filament winding capabilities for use in weapons-related applications. This initiative only proceeded as far as the production of plain cylinders.

  • According to several officials in the Iraqi missile program, Iraqi interest in carbon fiber technology was aroused inthe 1980s when an Iraqi team including Husayn Kamil went to Brazil and paid approximately $80 million for the technical specifications and training for the ASTROS-II carbon fiber filament winding technology.
  • A recovered memo dated 19 January 2001 documents a request by the Iraqi Al Basha’ir Trading Company to the FRY Company, Infinity DOO, for a filament winding production line with technology transfer.
  • An Iraqi engineer stated that, in 2001, the Iraqi Atomic Energy Commission (IAEC) possessed an incomplete carbon fiber filament-winding machine that had not been used since 1990. The machine was moved from the Al Athir complex to the Military Technology College (MTC) in 2001 where it was to be repaired and then copied.
  • By mid-2001, Huwaysh approved a missile-related carbon fiber winding production program and selected the 500-mm Al Fat’h solid-propellant motor case, nozzle, and end dome as the candidate for the carbon fiber filament winding initiative.
  • During a meeting in February 2002, Huwaysh initiated an effort to seek foreign assistance in carbon fiber composite production, using the ARMOS Company.
  • A high-ranking official in the Iraqi missile program recalled that, by the summer of 2002, a contract was awarded to the MTC to develop fiber winding machines with the ability of winding objects one meter in diameter and seven meters long, and the mandrel capacity was to support a 500-mm diameter 4 to 4½ meters in length. By the start of OIF the contract was still not complete.
  • A former MIC official claimed that concurrent to the MTC filament winding machine contract, MIC pursued assistance from Russian entities in carbon fiber technology. In September or October 2002, a Russian expert reportedly visited MIC and agreed to a reciprocal visit in Russia on carbon fiber technology. A trip was planned for Iraqi researchers to visit Russian carbon fiber production lines and receive technical assistance. The trip did not take place due to OIF.
  • MIC also examined importing carbon fiber raw materials from Europe while at the same time tasking a postgraduate student at Babylon University to research making carbon fiber raw materials from petroleum.

The properties of carbon fiber could provide a 30-40% weight savings over components made from steel. As an example, the Al Fat’h steel motor case, nozzle and end dome make up approximately 200 kg of the 1,050 kg total mass of the motor. A carbon fiber design could save approximately 60-80 kg of weight from the roughly 1,050 kg total weight. This savings could be applied to additional warhead capacity or towards increasing the range.

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