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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)


The Samen, Sejjil, and Ashura Iranian New Ballistic Missile Developments

© By Charles P. Vick (All Rights Reserved)

Senior Technical Analyst, Globalsecurity.org


The Sajjil [also known as "Sejjil" or "Sejil"] is a two-stage, primary solid-propellant with liquid propellant attitude control systems, surface-to-surface missile produced by Iran . The word is taken from a verse of Koran and it’s about a foreign army attacking Kaaba ( Mecca ). The story says that small birds appeared in the sky caring small pebbles of "Baked Clay" or "Lethal Stone" (SAJJIL) and dropped them on the enemy, killing them. Sajjil means stone mixed with mud. In Arabic, 'jim' is equivalent to 'ghaf' in Persian. Singue is hence spelled Sinj. The word Sajjil is then an Arabisation of a Persian term.

Sejjil two stage solid liquid propellant missile with a 2,000-2,510 kilometer range demonstrated

The Fars news agency reported 12 November 2008 that Iran had successfully test fired a new surface-to-surface missile. "The missile test launch is within the framework of defense strategy and conventional missile activities of Iran, it is merely intended for defense purposes and strengthening peace and stability in the region," Fars quoted Defense Minister Brigadier General Mustafa Mohammad Najjar as saying. "It will not be used against any country," he said. Najjar said the Sajjil missile's range is about 2,000-2,510 km (1,200-1,560 miles). He said the two-stage missile burns solid fuel. 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. All subsequent flights have come from the Semnan range.

On 20 May 2009 President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Iran had test-fired a new advanced missile with a range of about 1,200 miles, far enough to strike Israel and southeastern Europe . "Defense Minister (Mostafa Mohammad Najjar) has informed me that the Sajjil-2 missile, which has very advanced technology, was launched from Semnan and it landed precisely on the target," state radio quoted Ahmadinejad as saying.

Secretary Gates confirmed the Iranian test during an appearance before a House of Representatives committee. "The information that I have read indicates that it was a successful flight test," he said. "The missile will have a range of approximately 2,000 to 2,500 kilometers. Because of some of the problems they've had with their engines, we think, at least at this stage of the testing, it's probably closer to the lower end of that range. Whether it hit the target that it was intended for, I have not seen any information on that."

A subsequent successful test firing of the production prototype of Sejjil took place on Sept 28, 2009. It has been suggested that there have been at least four flight of the Sejjil solid propellant missile including at a minimum one in country unannounced. The have also been at least two firings of the longer range Ashura missile.

Iran followed this launch on December 16, 2009 from its Semnan range with an Iranian, Islamic Revolution Guard Corps (IRGC) unit army operation test launch of the land mobile fixed site green colored Sejjil-2 with warhead impact explosion of a none nuclear conventional explosion apparently being displayed. The Sejjil-2 has an demonstrated range capability of 2,510 kilometers with its 650 kilogram tri-conic warhead re-entry vehicle design. It can also carry a 1,000 kilogram warhead to 2,000 kilometers.

Sejjil-1, Sejjil-2 Iranian Ballistic Missile

Sejjil-2, is a two stage solid propellant ballistic missile was flown on May 20, 2009 with an improved guidance package over that flown on the Sejjil-1. The 2,000-2,510 kilometer range Sejjil ballistic missile also utilizes liquid propellant stage, vehicle attitude control system. It is designed to replace the Shahab-3B, 3C and Shahab-3A series liquid propellant missile which takes hours to prepare for launch. Sejjil is a land mobile system which utilizes GPS capability to define its launch position on the earth. It can be prepared for launch in a matter of minutes. Sejjil is a part of a missile family that includes the Samen MRBM, the Sejjil 2,000 - 2510 km range missile and the Advanced Ashura 2,500-3,000 km range three solid propellant ballistic missile.

Sejjil-1 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 Samen/Ghadr-101 single stage missile with a 750-800 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/Sejjil (baked clay) two stage solid propellant missile flown on November 10, 2008 has a range of 2,000 to perhaps 2,500 kilometers but previously Iran has flight tested the Ghadr-110A Ashura three stage ballistic missile with a range capability of 2,500 to as much as 3,000 kilometers. This is depending on its warhead payload mass and staging configuration. The entire development flight 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/Sejjil is being deployed in its 2,000-2,510 kilometer range version with a 650-1,000 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 flight attitude steering control in place of steering gimbals mounted nozzles.

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 full heritage goes back to not merely China ’s M-18, DF-21 that in turn came from Republic of South Africa ’s RSA-2, RSA-3 strategic boosters SLV’s which Israel also benefited from. 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.

In classical Iranian fashion as aptly demonstrated the warhead exploded after covering 180 miles (~288 km) plus terminating the flight according to US Military Intelligence sources and methods as reported by the Associated Press. These Intelligence sources further suggested that the flight lasted only 9 seconds as it was reported or more likely 90 seconds but the reviewed videos clearly shows it went well beyond 35 seconds showing no anomalies. Newer video released from Iran on “Youtube” ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AX8BWiYLFd8 ) also shows more details on the flight staging and liquid fueled APU power related system for the launch vehicle control and other details apparent from previous video’s released in Iran . Whether it intentionally veered off course or was programmed to accomplish this as it was reported will require a careful review of the telemetry captured by intelligence means from the full range observation. Based on this and other similar design related heritage systems performance data suggest that the Sejjil did indeed complete its two stage burn cycles successfully before exploding the warhead at altitude if that is what it was. That South African Republic and Pakistani, Chinese heritage related information says that the two stage burn was in the 107-121 seconds total with a slant angle performance of 272 kilometers while the Iran system using a smaller diameter solid motor was 180 miles (~288 km) plus down range well beyond the two stage burn cycle of the Sejjil missile system. If nothing else the explosion could have been nothing more than the second stage burn termination blowout port popping the top of the motor plate to kill the pressure during the warhead separation. If the motors are a little smaller in diameter as they seem to be 1.35 meters verses 1.4 meters the burns could have been a little shorter also. If it was an explosion it was after the end of the second stage burn if at all. By firing the missile the way it was apparently flown with an already proven warhead design flown over a 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 strongly suggest it was not intended to be a full range demonstration. All of these solid propellant missiles are believed to have been flight test demonstrated in the past in country with no fan fair. All of the pre-unannounced launches were apparently covered by U. S. , DSP satellite sensors and other technical means. Not all of the in country flights were successful which is to be expected. One example of this is the previous Ashura-110A experimental flight which is known to have been a partial failure but subsequent flights performed better. That means as Iran said Iran was successful with the launch. That was a very serious demonstration of a new operational strategic system that is a much more serious threat to the region under its range performance.

This and other ballistic missile tests by Iran have continued to violated UN Security Council resolution besides threatening other nations with in its range and reflect the end results of the illegal missile technology transfers from various nations such as Russia, China and the A. Q. Khan network to Iran. Historically no nation invests such large national treasury in over 1,000 kilometer range missiles to carry mere fire crack warheads and its companion nuclear technologies unless it is for nuclear weapons development, manufacture, and deployment of the weapons delivery systems.

The advanced nature of the system comes from the fact that the warning time for these missiles has been greatly reduced to mere minutes from that available through the existing liquid propellant Shahab-3 series of hours in preparation. This constitutes a major strategic threat to the regions with its range performance capability. This says nothing of the known to be deployed liquid propellant 4,000 kilometer range No-dong-B never displayed or paraded by Iran . No-dong-B is deployed both in Iran and North Korea .

  1. Ali Akbar Dareini Tehran, Iran & Matthew Lee , Pam Hess, Washington, USA, Iran tests missile - Israel in easy reach, Associated Press, November 12, 2008, PP. 1-2.
  2. Thanks to John Locker for video monitoring and Nicholas Badenhorst for technical assistance
  3. Iran's Sejil missile "threatens Europe", Tel Aviv, Israel (UPI) Aug. 25, 2009 p.1-2


Iran latest ballistic missile and space boosters Sejjil TEL


Range Kilometers 2,000-2,500
Diameter Meters ~1.4
Height Meters ~17.5-19
Stages   2

Launch Mass Kilograms 25,000+
Warhead Mass Kilograms 1,158-1,1050-760-550
Chinese Origin Heritage M-18 missile

Questions on Solid Motor Technology from Iran to North Korea

Iranian transfer of it advanced solid propellant technology to North Korea is a serious concern along with what it has already received from Russia that does not stand up when considering the understood state of North Korea's solid propellant ballistic missile program even if they are benefiting from Iran's extensive efforts in that area of ballistic missile technology development.

Iran is also in the advanced stage of developing a series of solid propellant ballistic missile, and potential space boosters as compared to known equivalent systems of Pakistan , U.S and Russia .




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.


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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