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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)


Missile Programs

Argentina was working, at varying levels of commitment, with Egypt and Iraq on the Condor II (Egyptian designation Badr-2000) medium-range surface-to-surface missile (SSM) from 1984 until May 1991, when Argentina's minister of defense announced the project's demise. Just how far along the missile's development progressed remains unclear. Iraq withdrew from the project in 1988, as its own missile program flourished. According to one Argentine press account, the missile was tested in March 1989 over a 504 km distance in Patagonia. But according to another report, the first test flight was planned for 1989, and it now appears that the missile was never flight tested.

The Condor II drew on the technology of the Condor I, a single-stage, solid-fuel sounding rocket, with a range/payload capability of 100 km/400 kg, which Argentina manufactured in the late 1970s. Argentine officials maintained that the Condor II was part of a peaceful satellite launch program, devoid of military objectives, but the project drew much attention and criticism. Britain, especially, was and remains concerned that the Condor's 1,000 km range would allow a strike on the Falkland Islands (Malvinas), while Israel continues to be concerned that the Egyptian and Iraqi ties to the project might presage its spread throughout the Middle East. Israel reportedly asked Argentina to drop Egypt from the venture and promised the delivery of twelve aircraft - said to have been embargoed in response to the Falklands War - in return.

In early 1993, Argentina's government decided to hand over most of the components of the secretive Condor II ballistic missile project to the United States for destruction.

In March 1995, Argentine Defense Minister Oscar Camilion said that Argentina is restudying its missile program in the context of space exploration. All missile developments, indigenous or purchased from another country, would take place within the limits set by the MTCR, which Argentina joined in 1991 when it abandoned the Condor II project.

The Alacran [Scorpion] Missile Project (200 km/500 kg) was an exploratory development. Published reports claimed that the Alacran's first test launch was reported in 1989, and it was thought that it had entered service in the early 1990s. According to official Argentine sources the Alacran missile never reached the production stage or even a feasibility study. The Alacran short-range ballistic missile was designed developed in the 1980s using the technologies proven by the Condor I program. The Alacran was believed to be about 6.2 m in lenth with a diameter of 0.56 m. The missile had four control fins at the base. It is estimated that it had a launch weight of 1,620 kg and a warhead of 400-500 kg. The missile had inertial guidance.



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