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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)


During 1988-90, the Iraqis made strides in their indigenous rocket program, which was centered on upgrading the performance of the Scud. Tehran, some 300 miles from the Iran-Iraq border, was outside the range of the unmodified Scud-B, which can travel a maximum distance of 300 km. To overcome this deficiency, Iraq extended the range of the Scud twice, apparently relying heavily on foreign technical assistance and equipment.

The second Scud modification, designated the al-Abbas, was tested in April 1988. It had an enhanced range of 900 km, putting all of Iran, as well as the Strait of Hormuz, within reach. With a diameter of 0.88 meters the al-Abbas was some 14.50 meters in length -- some three meters longer than the SCUD-B (length: 11.50 meters; diameter: 0.88 meters). However, it was not clear that the al-Abbas was stockpiled in any large numbers or even achieved operational status. Apparently, this missile had been test-fired only once. According to one detailed report, these modifications were achieved by cannibalizing propellant and oxidizer tanks from other Scuds, lengthening the size of the tanks, and increasing the amount of fuel. Additionally, the Iraqis reduced the regular Scud payload from 1,000 kg to 140-180 kg.

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Page last modified: 24-07-2011 04:43:11 ZULU