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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Shahab-3 Ballistic Warhead Payload Mods,

Shahab-3/No-dong-A Follow on Ballistic Warhead Payload Modification have been the:

Ghadr-F TRV, Shahab-3 TRV, Shahab-3 BRV, Ghadr-1 TRV, Ghadr-H TRV and now the Emad GRV.

© Charles P. Vick 1-14-2016 All Rights Reserved

On 10 October 2015 Iran conducted a ballistic missile launch. Iran's Defense Minister Brigadier General Hossein Dehqan said Emad is Iran's first long-range missile with guidance and control systems which can hit targets and completely destroy them with high precision. The Iranian defense minister said Emad would be mass produced and delivered to missile units of the Iranian Armed Forces soon to significantly enhance their tactical and operational power. “Iran will not accept any limitations on its missile program,” Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan further said after the UN experts accused Tehran of violating a Security Council resolution 1929 .

Progressive Iranian R&D in ballistic warhead design

Iran through the years has progressed through about six new warhead designs through flight testing from the original Shahab-3/No-dong-A, conical RV design. In reality they were merely improvements of the warhead design to address accuracy issues with each one getting a new name. Those various variations of the common design Shahab-3 ballistic payload warhead modifications have been the Ghadr–F TRV, Shahab-3 TRV, Shahab-3 BRV, Ghadr-1 TRV, Ghadr-H TRV and now the Emad GRV [The name Emad is of Persian and Arabic origin, meaning "confidence"]. The Iranian Shahab-3 class launchers they have are readily available in excess for R&D launches but ultimately the warheads would be applies to the follow on solid propellant ballistic missile in the inventory as well as the new R&D missiles expected to be seen in 2016-2017 time frame of the new Iranian Five Year Plan.

No-dong-A Evolution MRBM for improved range and payload accuracy performance

The No-Dong-A MRBM ballistic missile has under gone a series of evolutionary improvement from it original design embodied in the DPRK No-Dong-A the Iranian Shjahab-3 and the Pakistani Ghauri-1. Those design changes involved both lengthened propellant tankage with propellant changes. The Engine injector plated at the top of the thrust chambers were revised as well as the turbo-machinery pump speed for delivering the propellants. The propellants were changed from the original Scud based propellants of fuel consisting of TM-185 = 20% Gasoline, 80% Kerosene and Oxidizer of AK-27I = 27% N2O4 + 73% HNO3 with I odium inhibitor, Nitrogen Tetroxide & Nitric Acid to the follow on UDMH Unsymmetrical dimethyl hydrazine propellant and oxidizer AK-27I then the newer UDMH Unsymmetrical dimethyl hydrazine propellant and oxidizer N2O4 Nitrogen Tetroxide. These change required both tankage redesign and rearrangement differences from the original design of Origin. These revisions further resulted in higher thrust engines with longer burns that in turn provided a higher Specific Impulse performance in the ballistic missiles.

Among further improvement that are most pronounced is the completely improved and revised guidance system configuration in the forward part of the Iran Shahab ballistic missiles. The forward ballistic missile warheads have undergone complete redesign to improve warhead accuracy from a Cone re-entry vehicle design of origin to the Tri-conic (TRV) re-entry vehicle design with steering attitude reaction control system (RCS) thrusters and later a (BRV) ballistic re-entry vehicle. The complete rework creating the Emad warhead with its attitude control Reaction control system (RCS) and Bus mounted fin steered (GRV) guided re-entry vehicle retaining the ballistic missile guidance system throughout its flight to its target detonation.

The warheads have evolved from a Russian heritage designs and materials technology. Chinese contribution have been added to guidance systems technology and miniaturization requested by Iran and solid propellant technology development. It is suspect that Iran has gone beyond it warhead RCS systems to also include a guidance system interaction through re-entry. They have a long ways to go to match the DPRK re-entry warhead guidance technology from the Makeyev OKB utilized on the KN-08 block-II design. Iran's technology more closely resembles India's approach in some respect but what relationship is there is pure guess work. Indeed Iran’s RV designs have differed from those now utilized by the DPRK for very real reasons even though Iran has received the RV design technology from the DPRK without weaponing it internally only up to a certain level for IRBM's and from former Soviet Union in the form of re-entry materials.

One follow-up observation on the so called Emad missile maneuvering warhead development effort was first flown on October 10, 2015 and its was followed with a second flight on November 21, 2015 in full violation of UN Security Council resolutions. The test conducted on November 21, 2015 from near Chabahar, a port city near Iran's border with Pakistan, allowed the missile to traverse within Iranian territory to its existing test range impact points. This reversed the normal Iranian flight pattern direction from previous flights. The missile has a range of some 1,200 miles or close to 1,931 kilometers in the 2,000 kilometer class system which is capable of carrying a nuclear warhead. The missile is inherently capable of delivering a nuclear weapon making the launch a clear violation of UN Security Council Resolution. The Obama administration and a report provided to the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) both confirmed Iran's October 10 ballistic missile test violated UNSC Resolution 1929, that "Iran shall not undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using ballistic missile technology...".

On 21 October 2015 the United States, together with France, Germany, and the United Kingdom, submitted a joint report on the launch to the UN Security Council's Iran Sanctions Committee. However, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said those violations were "entirely separate" from the historic nuclear deal reached between Iran and world powers

Though it is not known but suspected that Iran for some time now has been pursuing naval anti-Ship missile technology via the Russian Federation missile weapons technology transfer. That is apparent in the tactical systems. While Emad is a member of a series refinement from the original No-dong-A conical warhead that have taken several shapes for greater accuracy and higher velocities as well as yaw, pitch and roll control jets with a minimal guidance package staying with the warhead after separation from the missile launcher.

The Emad is a further step in that direction resembling some of the Indian RV approach but a much stockier ballistic shape with steering fins around the base as well as highly improved guidance and attitude control for targeting accuracy. This can be applied both to land based as well as water based targets such as aircraft carriers but needs a lot of ground and air support to facilitate accuracy. Though this is far short of the Soviet era SS-11 anti-ship system it is also short of the PRC Chinese sophistication at anti-ship activity utilizing the DF-26. This is just a guestimate at purpose for the multiple Shahab-3 class launches for warhead development.

The Shahab-3 launch vehicles and its space variants of the Safir-1, 1A, 1B and 1B+ has included some updates that have advances both the launch vehicle through propellant changes and engine injector head components/pump speed, nozzle extension refinements while also advancing the warhead accuracy technology as R&D payloads.

At the first oversight hearing on expected implementation of the Iran nuclear agreement on 17 November 2015, US Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, warned that the Obama administration's failure to impose consequences for Iran's violation of an international ban on ballistic missile testing sets a dangerous precedent for enforcement of the nuclear deal. Further Senator Corker said Iran "knows neither this administration nor the U.N. Security Council is likely to take any action." He said, "Instead, the administration remains paralyzed and responds to Iran's violations with empty words of condemnation and concern."

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Page last modified: 06-09-2016 11:34:48 ZULU