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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)




Ashura/Ghadr-110A

© By Charles P. Vick (All Rights Reserved)

Senior Technical Analyst, Globalsecurity.org

March 25, - April 12, 2008 - June 2, 2009

Ashura/Ghadr-110A Iran’s Most Advanced R & D Solid Propellant Ballistic Missile

Ashura three stage solid propellant ballistic missile

Iran has already demonstrated a three stage operation with the solid propellant Ghadr-110A/Ashura program 2,000 - 2,500 – 3,000 km range designed is now being produced for deployment which has finally been publicly acknowledged after completing development to replace the liquid propellant Shahab-3B, 3C/Ghadr-1 already deployed. The Shahab-3B, 3C/Ghadr-1 design has a 2,000 km range performance. How advanced the Iranian Ghadr-110A/Ashura as compared to the Pakistani Shaheen-2 can be questioned in the sense it utilized the three stage concept in flown flight test configuration verses the near identical two stage Shaheen-2 design approach that Pakistan used. It would appear that Iran chose to use two identical half length solid motors of identical diameter for a second and third stage instead of the Shaheen-2 like first stage one with a sea level nozzle and the second one with an altitude nozzle as the second stage. Ashura is known to have undergone at least two flight tests with the confines of Iran.

Space & Ballistic Missile Applications

These separate but similar design approached do portent of future developments in longer range ballistic missiles as well as space boosters. Iran may be considering the on going rapidly developing solid propellant program as the basis of a satellite booster in a similar manner as being studied by Pakistan . It would appear that Pakistan in fact plans to lengthen the Shaheen-2 first and second stage solid motors to obtain higher performance for its space booster while retaining the existing M-11 based Shaheen-1 solid motors strap–on boosters. In any case both developments could and would lead to potential IRBM/ICBM development masquerading as space boosters for both countries. The Iranian suggested fiscal planning pacing would seem to suggest that the rapidly developing solid propellant program is taking precedent over the very advanced liquid propellant missile programs for obvious military purposes but that has yet to be proven. What kind of design mix Iran will ultimately develop for it heavier capacity satellite launch vehicle remains uncertain.

Ashura three stage solid propellant ballistic missile

What is this Ghadr-110A/Ashura Warhead Design?

When studying the launch image of the Iranian Ghadr-110/Ashura it appeared that the front end is designed to a very different warhead strongly resembling that of an encapsulated MRV design. This has been suggested in various Iranian discussions but it could also be an entirely new nuclear warhead re-entry vehicle design developed to accommodate the Atomic device designs known to have been studied by Iran . However considering its strategic deterrent value as a MRV in the face of Israeli and American strategic defense systems design performance in fact nullifies its strategic value as a MRV weapons system unless it is a single warhead. At this juncture it remains one of the unknowns from the available open source information coming out of Iran in spite of the known design studies by Iran .

Ashura/GHADR-110A

Range Kilometers 2,500-3,000
Diameter Meters ~1.4
Height Meters ~19-20+ varies
Stages   3
Launch Mass Kilograms varies
Warhead Mass Kilograms 760-650-550
Chinese Origin Heritage M-18 missile

Iran Goes Operational with its Family of Solid Propellant Ballistic Missiles.

Iran made it official that as expected it has started the early deployment in 2008 of its operational solid propellant strategic ballistic missiles. The Ghadr-101 single stage missile with a 750-800-1,000 kilometer range was quietly recently paraded in Tehran , Iran on Sunday September 21, 2008 . The deployment also includes two variants of the Ghadr-110, 110A ballistic missile intended replacement for the Shahab-3A, 3B and 3C liquid propellant ballistic missiles with a 2,000 kilometer range. However the Ghadr-110/Samen/Sejjil (baked clay) two stage solid propellant missile flown on November 10, 2008 has a range of 2,000 to perhaps 2500 kilometers. Previously Iran has flight tested the Ghadr-110A Ashura three stage ballistic missile with a range capability of 2,000 to as much as 3,000 kilometers. This is depending on its warhead payload mass and staging configuration. The entire development tests of the Ghadr-101, 110, 110A series missiles has been carried out in country with little or no announcements until they have become operational if any announcement at all. At present it is apparent that the Ghadr-110/Samen/Sejjil is being deployed in its 2,000 kilometer range version with a 1,000 kg tri-conic warhead. That tri-conic "baby bottle nose" warhead and its dimensions fits in the same logistic envelop as the Shahab-3B, 3C series lands mobile TEL's. All of these solid propellant missiles use some liquid propellant systems for stage propulsion in attitude steering control.

This solid propellant ballistic missile series was developed and produced under the leadership of the Air and Space Organization (aerospace) Department of the Iranian Ministry of Defense. Ghadr-110 systems heritage clearly has a link to the Pakistani Shaheen-II class system. The flight was launched by the Islamic Revolution Guard Corps (IRGC) unit as an operational system in a military exercise on November 10, 2008 from the newly excavated site on the outskirts of the city of Marivan in the western province of Kurdistan which borders Iraq . It is believed that the missile was fired intentionally into the Semnan range Dasht-e Kavir ( Salt Desert ) and was therefore not launched full range.

Comparative composite of Iran ’s latest developments

Iran 's latest solid propellant developments

US GOVERNMENT FINALLY ACKNOWLEDGEMENT THE NEW

NORTH KOREAN & IRANIAN MISSILES

By Charles P. Vick © All Rights Reserved 2007

Senior Analyst, Globalsecurity.org

Finally on January 29, 2007 the US government acknowledged for the first time the existence of several new Iranian and North Korean missiles under development through a speech by the deputy director of the Missile Defense Agency of the Pentagon Army Brig. General Patrick O’Reilly before the George C. Marshall Institute.  In that speech he described the Iranian multi stage Ghadr-101 with a 750-800-1000 km range and the two-three stage Ghadr-110 (Ashura) solid propellant missile with a range of (1,324 miles) 1,995.16 or close to 2,000 kilometers. It has been known that the Iranians are working on the Ghadr-101 as well as the Ghadr-110 (Ashura) solid propellant missiles. The Ghadr-101, 110 solid motor development was completed in 2005. He also described the two stage Taep’o-dong-2C/3 as having a range of (6,200 Miles) 9,975.8 kilometers and the three stage version with a range of (9,300 miles) 14,963.7 kilometers with a 200-250 kg warhead. He went further in his slides presentation to show that the liquid propellant No-dong-B/Mirim has a demonstrated range of 2,000 miles or 3,218 kilometers (3,000 kilometers) when it is capable of flying (2,485 miles) or 4,000 kilometers. (24) The No-dong-B was described as “a qualitative improvement in the performance” from earlier North Korean missile systems. The Iranian Ghadr-101, 110, 110A will in fact also provides Iran with an ASAT capability besides its operational MRBM and IRBM capability.

Iran ’s Solid Motor Production Industry

  Most of the solid propellant combinations used by Iran ’s solid fueled ballistic missiles and space boosters are believed to be batch produced primarily in an isolated facility south west of Esfahan and south of Najafabad adjacent to the place named Madiseh. The vast expanse solid propellant explosives plant is believed to be located directly across from Madiseh south west of Esfahan . This vast isolated facility has all the industrial temporary storage revetment temporary, test and long term storage production facilities to cast and store these solid motors for Iran ’s solid propellant ballistic missiles and potential future space boosters. It also is believed to house the required final assembly industrial facilities for those missile systems.

Middle Eastern Solid Propellant Ballistic Missile Technology Transfer Developments Implied?

05-17-07

By Charles P. Vick © All Rights Reserved 2007

Senior Technical Analyst, Globalsecurity.org

  Earlier on January 29, 2007 the US government acknowledged for the first time the existence of several new Iranian and North Korean missiles under development through a speech slide presentation by the deputy director of the Missile Defense Agency of the Pentagon Army Brig. General Patrick O’Reilly before the George C. Marshall Institute.  In that speech he described the Iranian two stage Ghadr-110 solid propellant missile with a range of (1,324 miles) 1,995.16 or close to 2,000 kilometers. It has been known that the Iranians are working on the Ghadr-101 as well as the Ghadr-110 solid propellant missiles. The Ghadr-101 solid motor development was completed in 2005.

The Iranian Ghadr-101, 110, 110A will provide Iran with a potential ASAT capability besides its operational MRBM and IRBM capability. It has become apparent that the Iranian Ghadr-110, 110A IRBM/LRICBM/SLV in fact owes it design heritage to the Shaheen-II which in turn owes it heritage to the South African ballistic missile satellite launch vehicle technology RSA-3, which Israel took advantage of to develop its Shavit ballistic missile and space booster. South African design development of its RSA-4 has apparently lead to the development of the new Shavit-follow-on booster. The RSA-4 and RSA-3 technology has also shown up in the four stages Chinese DF-31 along with the precursor solid propellant two stage JL-1 SLBM. All of these missile related technology transfers are expected to culminate in a satellite launch vehicle for Pakistan Shaheen-II derived SLV/LRICBM and Iranian Ghadr-110A IRBM/LRICBM/SLV that will have a striking resemblance to the South African RSA-4/Shavit follow on, and the Chinese-DF-31/KT-1 and altitude version of the upper two stage JL-1, heritage There is real evidence of technology transfer to China on these solid propellant ballistic missile programs from South Africa with the Russian improvement additions introduced later. . The case for the technology transfers from South Africa to Pakistan and then on to Iran is admittedly circumstantial but it continues to amass. Close examination of the dimensions of the Solid motors seems to confirm the historic systems heritage of these missiles. Certainly there are several design approaches to the ultimate goals for Israel , Pakistan and Iran . Among them are the following three concept :

1. Shaheen-II/Shavit with large 2-2.4 meter diameter first stage motor like RSA-4 - This is the most expensive and difficult technological hurdle unless it is already done from South Africa . There is the possibility of stretching the existing 1.35 meter diameter solid motors for more performance as was considered for the Shavit commercial satellite launcher.

2. Four M-9 clustered as drawn with 1.35 meter diameter Shaheen on top – This is one of the two simplest, cheaper approaches but not necessarily the best payload approach.

3. A Shaheen–II/Shavit with two or four M-9 strap-ons surrounding the 1.35 meter diameter first stage of a three stage Shaheen-II – This makes the design awfully tall creating potential dynamic and flight control issues but cheapest to do

And in all cases an added shortened third stage would be added for range, payload and satellite performance requirements. So the Question becomes:

A. Which design approach will be chosen by Pakistan for the Shaheen follow-on? Three stage Shaheen – II with first stage attached two or four Strap-ons is indicated in design models?

B. Which design approach will be chosen by Israel for the Shavit follow-on? Large First stage diameter of 2-2.4 meters is indicated or longer existing solid motor is possibly indicated from commercial applications?

C. Which design approach will be chosen by Iran for the Ghadr-110A follow-on? Remains Uncertain?

D. What will be the impact of the Chinese experience with the DF-31/KT-1 with the JL-1 upper stages on these Pakistani and Iranian designs? The Chinese have had considerable difficulty with the KT-1/DF-31 derived design.

Credits , References:

1.    http://www.washingtontimes.com/national/20070130-122437-6559r.htm Gertz, Bill, How the “axis” seeks the killer missile, The Washington Times, January 30, 2007

2. http://hometown.aol.de/SLVehicles2/Dong%20Feng/DF.htm The striking similarity of any Chinese, Pakistani and Iranian solid fuel rockets, Norbert Brügge, Germany

3. http://hometown.aol.de/SLVehicles2/Nodong/Nodong.htm The North-Korean Nodong missile family, Norbert Brügge, Germany

4. http://hometown.aol.de/SLVehicles2/Safir-IRILV/Safir.htm Iran 's first space launch vehicle Safir IRILV, Norbert Brügge, Germany

5. http://youtube.com/watch?v=S3mSNxhILo0&feature=related , various Iranian video’s on the missile and space industry,

Iran Launches Space Programme, Fires Research Rocket video

Iran Launched a Rocket to Send First Satellite video

Iran Space Center video (Persian)

Iran Test Launches Kavoshgar-1 Space Rocket video

15. Nicholas Badenhorst  – correspondence February. March 2008

References:

1. Pamela Hess , North Korea has second long-range missile site, Associated Press, Sept. 10, 2008 pp. 1-3.

2. North Korea has second long-range missile launch site: analyst, AFP Washington, Sept. 19, 2008 p.1.

3. Jane's Defense Weekly Uncovers North Korea 's New Missile Facility,,Media Release, Sept. 11, 2008 , p. 1-3.

4. N. Korea Building New Missile Base, http://english.chosun.con, Chosun ilbo (english edition) Sept. 12, 2008 , p. 1.

5. New North Korean Missile Site Revealed, http://english.chosun.com (english edition), Sept. 12, 2008 , p. 1-2.

6. N. Korea Tests Missile Ignition, http://english.chosun.com, Chosun ilbo English edition, Sept 16, 2008 , p.1.

7. North Korea tests missile engine, http://www. presstv.ir (PRESSTV of Iran) Sept 16, 2008 , p. 1.

8. N. Korea Developing Long Range Missile Thrusters At New Launch Site: Source," South Korean Yonhap news agency report, Sept. 16, 2008 , p. 1-2.

9. Kim Kwi-Ku"n:"What Is the Missile Base in North Korea's Tongch"ang-ri for?-"likelihood of Launch Artificial Satellite - Relation to Nuclear Weapons Delivery Means"", South Korean Yonhap news agency report, Sept. 14, 2008, p. 1-2.

10. Google Earth imagery

11. N Korea conducts engine test at new missile site: report AFP, http://www.spacewars.com , Seoul , September 16-17, 2008 , p. 1-2.

12. Pamela Hess , US : North Korea conducts missile engine test, Associated Press, September 16, 2008 , p. 1-2.

13. Choe Sang-Hun, The New York Times, North Korea Said to Have Tested Missile Engine, http://www. nytimes.com , Sept. 16, 2006 , Sept 17, 2008 , p. 1-2.

14. Blaine Harden , North Korea Tests Engine of Long-Range Missile, Report Says, The Washington Post Foreign Service, Sept. 17, 2008 p. A-12.

15. Kurt Achin, Seoul, South Korea, New North Korean Missile Site Revealed, Voice of America, Sept 11, 2008 pp. 1-2.

16. Iranian military parade photographs of the FARS News Agency of September 21, 2008 .

17. N Korea may already have nuclear warheads: ex-CIA official, Staff Writer, Tokyo , Japan , AFP, http://www.spacewar,com, September 26, 2008 , pp. 1-2.

18. N. Korea unlikely to possess nuclear weapons: military chief, Yonhap news agency, http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/northkorea/2008/10/08/0401000000AEN20081008008800315.HTML October 8 , 2008, pp. 1.

19. Intelligence: N. Korea to Test New Missile, The Dong-A Ilbo, http://english.donga.com , October 2, 2008 pp. 1 -2.

24. http://www.washingtontimes.com/national/20070130-122437-6559r.htm Gertz, Bill, How the “axis” seeks the killer missile, The Washington Times, January 30, 2007 , p. ?

25. http://www.washingtontimes.com/national/20070130-122437-6559r.htmGertz, Bill, How the “axis” seeks the killer missile, The Washington Times, January 30, 2007

26. N Korean base could handle longer-range missiles: S Korea minister, Spacewars.com, Seoul AFP, Nov 4, 2008 , pp. 1-2l.

27. A Korea : N Koreas building base for bigger missiles, Seoul , South Korea , AP, Nov. 5, 2008 , p.1.

28. Iran "fires second space rocket", http://news.bbc.co.uk , BBC, 15:50 GMT November 26, 2008 , pp. 1-2.

29. Iran To Send Animals Into Space, Tehran, Iran RIA Novosti, http://www.space-treael.com/reports/Iran_To_Send_Animals_Into_Space_999.html, Dec 03, 2008, p.1.

30. N. Korea Could Export ICBM Capability To Iran, Middle East Newsline , Washington , Dec. 24, 2008 p.1 http://www.menewsline.com

31. Iran Builds First Satellite Ground Station, Middle East Newsline, Nicosia , January 14, 2009 , p.1

32. Iran Begins Extended Shihab-3 Missile Output, Middle East Newsline, Nicosia , December 10, 2009 , p.1.



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