President Nasser at Jebel Hamza for missile test launch
View of a Tabriz silo during a broadcast on Iranian missiles. MEMRI
4. The Zolfaghar
Jabal Taqsis is a key missile production facility and garrison that was built with North Korean assistance. According to reports from 2011, North Korean scientists were stationed at Jabal Taqsis to help the Syrians with the development of Scud B and C missiles. The garrison was also alleged to be a chemical weapons storage facility.
Partially destroyed Al Hussein missile. AP via Federation of American Scientists
The Dezful is the latest in a series of missiles based on the Fateh-110, which is Iran's first domestic solid-fueled ballistic missile. The Fateh-110, unveiled in 2002, has a steel air frame and a maximum range of 300 km. It is believed that Iran transfered an unknown number of Fateh-110 missiles to Hezbollah.
One of the clearest signatures is a horizontal engine test stand nestled at the base of the mountain just south of the production plant. Solid-fuel engines can be tested in a number of configurations but it is easiest to test them horizontally. In contrast, liquid-fuel engines must be tested vertically so propellant does not pool in the combustion chamber.
Burkan 2-H launch, April 11, 2018. YouTube
Annotations by Jeffrey Lewis and David Schmerler, Middlebury Institute of International Studies
Image (c) November 13, 2018 Planet Labs, Inc. cc-by-sa 4.0.
6. Modeling Missile Performance
4. The Horizontal Engine Test Stand
Turkey has now flight-tested its own domestically produced short-range missile, the Bora. The missile itself seem to be a license-production version of China’s BP12A. Turkish officials, however, have stated that they will use license production of the Bora as a basis to develop much longer-range missiles.
Raniyya | SAUDI ARABIA
Jabal Hamza is Egypt’s ballistic missile test facility. It was constructed in the 1960s and expanded and modernized starting in 2001. Jabal Hamza consists of the original northern complex and a newer southern complex- each with its own test stand and support structures. A horizontal test stand was added to the southern complex in 2007 and is likely for testing solid- fuel rocket engines, suggesting that Egypt may be developing longer-range missiles.
Israel has one of the oldest and largest ballistic missile programs in the Middle East. It consists of Jericho I and II ballistic missiles and Shavit space launch vehicles based on the Jericho II. While Israel regularly launches the Shavit from Palmachim airbase, it is secretive about the Jericho system. However, it is possible to assess the Jericho’s capabilities by looking at open source information from France and South Africa, two countries that worked closely with Israel on the development of the Jericho.
The Chamran Air Base is located in a crop of mountains just south of the city of Jam and approximately 15 kilometers northeast of the Persian Gulf. There are several groupings of underground tunnel entrances at Chamran Air Base as well as two silos. On March 8, 2016, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) launched a Qiam ballistic missile from a silo at the base.
Military officials take off from main helicopter pad after visit to Al-Safir.
The United Arab Emirates purchased a small quantity of Scud B and C ballistic missiles from North Korea in the 1980s and 1990s. The missiles are likely operated by the 97th Heavy Artillery Regiment and deployed at a facility next to Al Minhad Air Base. An expansion of the facility began in early 2016. Satellite imagery shows approximately 31 new bunkers, likely for the deployment of U.S. Army Tactical Missile Systems (ATACMS).
The Bora short-range ballistic missile (SRBM) is produced by Roketsan, Turkey’s principal weapons manufacturer. Roketsan was founded in 1988 by the Turkish Defense Industries Executive Committee to produce solid fuel rocket motors for the Stinger European Joint Production Program. The company’s headquarters and production facility are located on the outskirts of the city of Elmadağ.
The design and fabrication of Israel’s Jericho II and Arrow 3 missiles, as well as Shavit space launch vehicles (SLVs) is carried out at the MLM division of Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd. located in Be’er Yaakov. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited the factory in January 2019 after a successful test launch of an Arrow 3 missile.
3. Base Expansion
The Imam Khomeini Space Center is one of Iran’s space launch and missile test sites. Construction on the facility began in 2003 and it received several major upgrades in recent years including a larger pad with mobile support tower. Recently, Imam Khomeini was the location of two failed space launches. On January 15, 2019, a Simorgh rocket carrying an Iranian communications satellite failed because its launch speed was too slow. A second launch in early February, this time of a Safir rocket, failed for unknown reasons.
The Bakhtaran missile base is located in the mountains approximately 17 kilometers northeast of the city of Kermanshah. There is an underground facility at Bakhtaran as well as a two munitions storage areas and multiple missile launch pads. Iran used Bakhtaran to stage several combat launches against ISIS targets in Syria. On June 18, 2017, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) launched several Zolfaghar solid-fuel ballistic missiles from the base. This was the first combat launch of the Zolfaghar missile system.
Prior to the Syrian civil war, the Al-Qutayfah missile garrison on the outskirts of Damascus was Syria’s largest missile base. It was home to the 155th Missile Brigade, which operates Syria’s arsenal of Scud-based ballistic missiles. According to local reports from 2013, the garrison at Al-Qutayfah was abandoned and its Scud missiles were moved north to bases in government-held territory.
Annotations by Jeffrey Lewis and David Schmerler, Middlebury Institute of International Studies
Images (c) Planet Labs, Inc. cc-by-sa 4.0. and Google Earth
On April 26, 2018, Turkish Defense Minister Nurettin Canikli announced that Turkey was developing the Bora 2 missile, a more advanced, longer-range version of the Bora 1, Turkey’s first domestically produced ballistic missile. Turkey adheres to the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), which prohibits missiles with a 300 km+ range, but open source information indicates that the Bora 2 will likely exceed that limit. The Bora 2 signifies a new phase for the Turkish ballistic missile program, which has mostly been the product of a close collaboration with China.
Zolfaghar combat launch in July 2017. YouTube
Lar | IRAN
Al-Hariq missile base, also known as Base 511, is located approximately 46 kilometers north of the city of Al-Hariq and just west of the town of Jufayr. It is the oldest and one of the largest bases of the Saudi Strategic Missile Force and was one of the original locations of DF-2 missiles purchased from China.
Wadi ad Dawasir | SAUDI ARABIA
Bora brochure. Roketsan
Ofek 11 launch on September 13, 2016. YouTube
Egypt’s ballistic missile program began under Gamal Abdel Nasser in the early 1960s with help from disgruntled West German scientists. By 1962, Egypt flight tested two missile systems called the Al-Zafir (Victor) and Al-Qaher (Conqueror). Due to technical difficulties, Egypt shut down its early domestic programs and instead began importing missiles and technology from the Soviet Union and North Korea. Egypt’s current missile force consists of between 50-100 Scud B missiles and an unknown number of Scud- based missiles developed with North Korean assistance.
Nasser views Al-Zafir test flight
Graph shows missile range as a function of deadweight
i.e. missile airframe and mandrel
IWM Tura Caves (C) IWM (CM 5892)
This underground facility is located approximately 24 kilometers north of the coastal city of Bandar Abbas at the base of Genu Mountain. There are two large tunnels, an apparent munitions storage area, and a small garrison.
The peculiar set up of the horizontal test stand also indicates some level of Chinese assistance with the construction of a missile production plant. CNS analysts noticed that the test stand at Al-Watah is partially covered where the flame would exit the engine—a set up that was believed to be unique to Chinese test stands.
Imam Khomeini | IRAN
Israel's Advanced Missiles
Jabal Taqsis | SYRIA
4. Helping South Africa
The Test stand at Beit Zachariah. Google Earth
Welcome to this interactive map of missile infrastructure in the Middle East. It details all major missile programs in the region, highlighting production facilities, testing grounds, and missile bases. It also touches on non-state actor missile use and combat launches, as well as relevant open source case studies.
Shavit space launch on September 13, 2016. YouTube
1. Expanding Capabilities
Shiraz | IRAN
After co-production of the Jericho I with Dassault ended, Israel built out its own missile production infrastructure and was able to manufacture over 100 Jericho I missiles between 1970 and 1980. Development of the Jericho was likely located at Beit Zachariah. The horizontal engine test stand at Beit Zachariah is clearly visible in satellite imagery.
In the wake of the signing of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in 2015, Iran reoriented its ballistic missile program away from developing an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) capability and towards shorter-range, solid-fuel missiles. The shift signaled Iran's desire to strengthen its regional conventional missile capabilities. However, Iran is not alone; an arms race is underway in the region with many countries pursuing their own advanced missile programs. The spotlight on Iran's missile program fails to place it in context with programs underway in other regional powers including Egypt, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen.
Yildirim on display at 2009 Victory Day Parade. YouTube
Iraq aggressively pursued a ballistic missile program under Saddam Hussein. After purchasing a large number of Scud missiles and launchers from the Soviet Union in the 1970s, Iraq modified the missiles, producing the Al-Hussein, Al-Hijara, and Al-Abbas variants. Iraq used the Al-Hussein and Al-Hijara missiles during the Iran-Iraq and Persian Gulf wars. In the wake of the Gulf War, Iraq destroyed these missiles under UN observation. Between 1991 and 1998, Iraq was allowed to develop ballistic missiles with a range of less than 150 km—though it violated that restriction with the Al-Samoud II and Al-Fateh missiles. UN inspectors began destroying these missiles prior to the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq, however they were unable to finish.
Roketsan brochure for Bora/Khan missile
Shahid Hemmat Industrial Group | IRAN
The Bora 1 on display at the 2017 International Defense Industry Fair. YouTube
Annotations by Jeffrey Lewis and David Schmerler, Middlebury Institute of International Studies
Image (c) November 13, 2018 Planet Labs, Inc. cc-by-sa 4.0.
The Jericho II is also the basis of the first and second stages of the Shavit space launch vehicle. The Shavit, which was developed in the 1980s, is used to place the Ofek series of Israeli spy satellites into low earth orbit. Performance similarities between the Shavit and Jericho II have led U.S. officials and open source experts to speculate that a Shavit could be modified and deployed as a longer range intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM) or even intercontinental-range ballistic missile (ICBM).
Image (C) Hossein Velayati cc-by-sa 4.0
Qatar was not known to possess ballistic missiles until 2017, when the Qatari army paraded several SY-400 missile systems at its National Day Parade. Analysts believe the systems to be a modified version of the SY-400 that carries two BP-12A missile cannisters. The BP-12A is a short-range ballistic missile (SRBM) produced by China with a range of approximately 400 km.
SY-400 systems at the National Day Parade, 2017. YouTube.
Al-Watah missile base known as Base 544 is located 45 kilometers southeast of the city of Ad-Dawadmi. It is one of two newer missile bases constructed by Saudi Arabia beginning around 2011. Satellite images taken between 2013-2018 show a large expansion of Al-Watah. Analysts determined that the expansion was actually construction on a solid-propellant production facility, likely for an indigenous missile program.
The Shahid Hemmat Industrial Group (SHIG) oversees Iran’s liquid-fueled ballistic missile program—specifically, the Shahab-3 and Ghadr ballistic missiles. It is part of Iran’s Aerospace Industries Organization (AIO) and has many subordinate entities responsible for procurement, research and development, testing, and production of liquid-fueled missiles. SHIG is heavily sanctioned for its role in Iran’s ballistic missile program as well as for aiding the North Korean ballistic missile program.
B6 missile series engine specifications
Analyzing the Dezful
Be'er Yaakov | ISRAEL
Prime Minister Netanyahu visits IAI MLM Division, January 2019.
Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Saudi Missile Production
Palmachim | ISRAEL
2. Dassault and the MD-620
One of Iran’s missile bases is in the mountains about 9.5 kilometers north of the city of Shiraz. The most notable features of the base are the multiple tunnel entrances towards the back of the valley. Analysts suspect Shiraz to be the location of a large underground facility, though its specific purpose is unknown.
U.S. Government reports suggest that Iran has provided Hezbollah with ballistic missiles. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo recently ra the issue during a speech in Cairo, Egypt, in January 2019, though reports of missile transfers date back to 2009-2010. In the 2010 and 2012 Reports to Congress on the Military Power of Iran, the Department of Defense states that a “wide array of missiles and rockets” were given to Hezbollah. The exact missile system(s) are unknown, but it is likely that the Fateh-110 short range ballistic missile is one of them.
Ash-Shamli missile base, possibly Base 566, is nestled in a small mountain valley about 50 kilometers northwest of the town of Ash-Shamli. It is one of two newer missile bases constructed by Saudi Arabia beginning around 2011.
Photographic evidence of a carbon fiber airframe emerged in December 2017 when Iran displayed a mockup of the Zolfaghar at Amir Kabir University in Tehran. Students’ selfies with the missile revealed a ribbed texture to the airframe associated with carbon fiber.
Starting in the late 1990s, Turkey worked closely with Chinese defense companies to jumpstart its domestic ballistic missile program, with cooperation progressing in three phases. Phase one involved Turkish production of the Chinese A-200 artillery rocket system. The Turkish variant is named Kasirga.
Bakhtaran | IRAN
Considering past Turkish-Chinese missile cooperation, it is likely that the Bora 2 will be a domestic variant of the third missile in China’s B6-series—which China itself has yet to unveil. Based on documents detailing the rocket motors used for the B6-series, the third missile as well as the Bora 2 can be expected to have a range of 360 km.
Jabal Hamza | EGYPT
3. Phase Two: Yildirim
The third phase of cooperation began in 2009 with an agreement to co-produce an extended range version of the B611/Yildirim ballistic missile. The resulting Turkish missile is the Bora 1, based on the Chinese B611M, which has a range of 260 km, just under the 300 km MTCR threshold.
Wadi ad-Dawasir, also known as Base 522, is located 20 kilometers north of the city of As-Sulayyil. It was built around the same time as Base 511 and is the second oldest Saudi missile base. DF-2 missiles are also hosted here. The Saudi Strategic Missile Force academy is located at Wadi ad-Dawasir.
Diagram of the MD-620. Marcel Dassault
Bora/Khan missile system. Roketsan
Beit Zachariah | ISRAEL
Masyaf is a missile production facility in northern Syria. Around 2014, Syria relocated several programs including solid-propellant production and missile research and development to Masyaf. It also houses the main administrative offices for the entire ballistic missile program. The complex was the target of several Israeli airstrikes in 2017 and 2018.
Timelapse expansion of Al-Watah. Image (c) Planet Labs, Inc. cc-by-sa 4.0.
Sakr Factory | EGYPT
Jabal Attan | YEMEN
Plant under construction. BNS Group
1. Announcing the Bora 2
Simorgh SLV launch, July 27, 2017. IRINN.IR/Press TV
Masyaf | SYRIA
SHIG missile components in missiles used by Houthi rebels against Saudi Arabia. Photo via Adam Rawnsley
Sakr factory tour. CBC broadcast
The Lar missile base is located 10 kilometers southwest of the city center of Lar. The base is set in a V-shaped valley just off a main highway. There is one large tunnel entrance and three smaller entrances to a central underground facility. There is one silo visible above the underground facility.
Annotations by Jeffrey Lewis and David Schmerler, Middlebury Institute of International Studies
Image (c) November 13, 2018 Planet Labs, Inc. cc-by-sa 4.0.
It is likely that the Dezful also has a carbon fiber airframe. When it was unveiled in February 2019, Iranian officials called the Dezful a more powerful version of the Zolfaghar. Using a performance modeling software called Missile Tool Kit, CNS discovered that the increase in range between the Fateh-110, Zolfaghar, and Dezful was likely due to replacing the steel airframe with carbon fiber airframes and increasing the missiles' diameter.
Ofek 10 satellite launch on Shavit rocket, April 9, 2014.
Israel Ministry of Defense
Palmachim is an air base, spaceport, and missile test facility operated by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). Today it is officially a helicopter air base, but it was originally built as a missile test facility in the 1970s. Israel still tests from Palmachim—specifically its Jericho II ballistic missile and Arrow 3 missile defense system. Israel also conducts space launches at the site using the Shavit space launch vehicle (SLV).
Bora test launch, May 11, 2017. YouTube
Prior to the unification of Yemen in 1990, both North and South Yemen acquired several types of ballistic missiles from the Soviet Union. In the 1990s, a unified Yemen began purchasing Scud-based ballistic missiles from North Korea. Currently, Yemen’s missile force is under Houthi rebel control. The Houthis also claim to have developed an indigenous ballistic missile called the Burkan 2-H, though credible reports suggest that the missiles are of Iranian-origin and were smuggled into Yemen.
Left: Ground images from contractor brief. Right: Google Earth satellite image
The Tura Caves near Helwan were the primary limestone quarry of Ancient Egypt; stone from the caves was used to build the Great Pyramid of Giza, as well as many pyramids and temples. During World War II, the British turned the abandoned quarry into an ammunition depot. Currently, the Tura M are the likely location of Egypt’s primary ballistic missile base. Declassified CIA documents from 1973 first identify the caves as a major ammunitions depot and then mention sightings of Scud transporter-erector-launchers (TELs) “in an area near the Tura Caves.” Additionally, a declassified map from a 1991 National Intelligence Estimate identifies a “Scud-B missile site” in the vicinity of the Tura Caves.
Israel has the oldest and most developed long-range missile program in the region. Israel imported a number of missiles from France’s Marcel Dassault aeronautics company in the 1960s and then, after France ended its assistance, established its own domestic production capability. Israel currently deploys the 2,000 km-range Jericho II ballistic missile. This missile is also used to place satellites in orbit under the name Shavit.
5. The Chinese Connection
5. Clues on Display
Around 2010, Saudi Arabia began expanding its network of missile bases. The Al-Watah missile base near Al-Dawadmi was first identified when analysts observed construction on the residential area of the base. Ground images of the construction site that were pulled from contractor’s online portfolio were used to verify the residential area’s location. The corresponding tactical area is about 10 kilometers away and was identified by several missile launch pads and entrances to underground facilities.
In February 2019, Iran unveiled a 1,000 km-range solid-fueled medium-range ballistic missile (MRBM) called the Dezful. This represented a significant milestone for the Iranian ballistic missile program. Iran is only the second country in the region to domestically produce an MRBM after Israel (Saudi Arabia imported MRBMs from China but has not tested a domestic variant.) CNS analysts used open source tools to trace the origins of the Dezful.
Jabal Attan is a former Scud base and munitions depot on the outskirts of the capital of Sana’a. It was home to the Yemeni Army’s 5th and 6th Missile Brigades before it fell under Houthi control early in the civil war. A Saudi-led bombing raid on April 20, 2015, triggered a large explosion that destroyed the base.
3. Carbon Fiber for Advanced Missiles
Zolfaghar launch from Khorramshahr, June 18, 2017. SIMANEWS.IR
The Kingdom of Bahrain does not possess any Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) Category 1 ballistic and/or cruise missiles—systems able to carry a 500 kg payload a distance of 300 km or more. It does deploy Army Tactical Missile Systems (ATACMS) purchased from the United States. ATACMS are close-range ballistic missiles with a sub-300 meter range, meaning they are not classified as MTCR Category 1 technology. Bahrain’s ATACMS are likely deployed at a base that is 5 kilometers northeast of Isa Air Base.
Excerpt from 2012 Annual Report on Military Power of Iran. DOD
1. The Dezful
The Sakr Factory for Developed Industries is currently the only known ballistic missile production facility in Egypt. It was established in 1953 under the Arab Organization for Industrialization (AOI) and was the center of Egypt’s early ballistic missile programs. In 1990, Egypt signed a cooperation agreement with China to modernize the factory. It is reportedly now able to produce Scud-B and longer-range Scud-based missiles, as well as artillery rockets.
Iran’s missile program has evolved significantly in recent years. While its first generation of ballistic missiles were developed based on Scud missiles imported from North Korea, Iran is now developing a domestic solid-fueled missile capability for more advanced missile systems. In February 2019, Iran unveiled its newest solid-fuel missile called the Dezful, which has a stated range of 1,000 km though it has not been flight tested.
Visit to underground facility and Qiam missile launch. IRINN.IR
Camp Sabra | YEMEN
The Imam Ali missile base is located in a mountain valley just northwest of the city of Khorramabad. It consists of a large missile storage complex and an operational launch complex. There appear to be three separate underground facilities at the launch complex, along with two missile silos.
In early 2013, Saudi Arabia undertook an expansion of facilities at Al-Watah. A time lapse of satellite imagery shows substantial construction at several areas of the tactical base. An inspection of higher resolution imagery revealed signatures of solid fuel missile production, likely for domestic production of advanced ballistic missiles.
2. Finding Al-Watah
Beit Zachariah, also known as Sedot Mikha, is currently Israel’s only known ballistic missile base. The base was constructed in the late 1960s and is suspected of being able to support roughly 50 Jericho II missiles and 10-20 transporter-erector-launcher (TEL) vehicles.
Imam Ali | IRAN
Al-Safir is best known for being a chemical weapon production facility controlled by the Scientific Studies and Research Center (SSRC), however it also houses a Scud missile base. The co-location of the two facilities made it easier for SSRC and military personnel to fill warheads with chemical munitions. The site was bombed several times during the civil war and its current status is unclear.
In the early 1960s, the French aviation company Marcel Dassault developed the MD-620 short-range ballistic missile at the request of Israel. The MD-620, which was the basis for the Jericho I, could carry a payload of 1,000 kg a range of 500 km. Dassault is thought to have transferred 12-14 complete MD-620 missiles to Israel during their partnership. Cooperation came to a halt in January 1969 after France placed an arms embargo on Israel in response to the December 28, 1968 bombing of the Beirut airport.
SAA forces test ballistic missiles. Syrian state TV broadcast
The Tabriz missile base is located approximately 15 kilometers southwest of the city of Tabriz. It is home to Shahab-3 intermediate-range ballistic missiles (IRBMs), which can be launched from the base’s three pairs of silos. Two sets of missile silos are located at the main base and an additional pair is located 15 kilometers to the west.
Camp Sabra was a missile base located in the Bilad Ar Rus district outside of San’aa. Prior to 2015, Camp Sabra was home to the Yemeni Army’s 8th Missile Brigade. According to a declassified National Intelligence Estimate, there were likely Scud-B and SS-21 missiles at the site. The base was destroyed by a Saudi airstrike sometime in 2015.
On May 11, 2017, Turkey conducted the first flight-test of its domestically produced Bora short-range ballistic missile (SRBM). The launch was carried out at a military site near the town of Sinop. The site was formerly a joint U.S.-Turkish field station for monitoring Soviet activity in the Black Sea, as well as Soviet missile tests. The United States left the field station in 1992.
Al-Safir | SYRIA
MD 620 Jericho missile. Dassault-Aviation
Bidganeh | IRAN
In 2015, Iran announced the construction of two carbon fiber production plants. The larger production plant was reported to have a production capacity of 150 tons and was geolocated using construction photos of the plant. Initially, the carbon fiber was thought to be for cerntrifuges however a UN Panel of Experts report stated that the carbon fiber was not strong enough. Carbon fiber material can also be used to create lighter missile airframes, enabling the missile to fly farther.
3. Production Moves to Israel
Dignitaries at the Strategic Missile Forces HQ. www.alriyadh.com
Turkey's Missile Trajectory
Before the start of the civil war, Syria was assessed to have one of the largest ballistic missile arsenals in the Middle East, though its current size and status are unknown. With assistance from North Korea and Iran, Syria developed several indigenous ballistic missiles on the Scud, Fateh-110, and SS-21 missiles. The country’s missile programs are run by the Scientific Studies and Research Center (SSRC).
Click the icons to learn about each country's missile program
Al-Hariq | SAUDI ARABIA
Iranian officials unveil the Dezful in February 2019. YouTube
Shahrud is a test facility for solid-fuel engines likely for longer-range missiles. It was originally built in the late 1980s with help from China and North Korea and underwent a large expansion beginning around 2011. A few kilometers away from the main launch pad is a larger crater that houses several horizontal test stands for large solid-fuel engines. There are also multiple tunnel entrances to an underground facility beneath the crater.
Saudi Arabia imported 2, km range DF-2 ballistic missiles from China in the late 1990s. There have been recent, unconfirmed reports that China transferred newer solid-fueled ballistic missiles to Saudi Arabia. Additionally, open source analysis indicates that China may have helped Saudi Arabia build a solid-propellant production ss. s are also reports that Saudi Arabia is receiving assistance from Ukraine to develop a solid-fueled missile that would approach or exceed 300 km in range.
ATACMS present at Bahrain military parade, 2011. Bahrain TV
Prior to November 2011, Iran’s solid-propellant production was located at an Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) base near the town of Bidganeh. Solid propellant production was moved to Shahrud after a large explosion destroyed the site at Bidganeh, killing at least 15 IRGC personnel, including Gen. Hassan Tehrani Moghaddam, the head of Iran’s missile program at the time. Bidganeh remains an important IRGC base and may still be used as a missile deployment area.
Shahrud | IRAN
Tabriz | IRAN
2. Phase One: Kasirga
Phase two, widely known as Project J or Jaguar, began in 1998 when Turkey obtained a license to produce a domestic variant of the Chinese B611 ballistic missile, called the Yildirim. The missile is a solid-fueled short-range ballistic missile capable of carrying a 480kg payload a range of 150 km. The Yildirim made its public debut at Turkey’s Victory Day Parade in 2007.
Students take photos with the Zolfaghar at Amir Kabir University. basij.aut.ac.ir/blog
The missile base at Raniyya, known as Base 533, was the third base constructed by Saudi Arabia. It is located 23 kilometers south of the city of Raniyya. The tactical area of the base was inaugurated in 1997 during a visit by Prince Sultan. Satellite imagery shows tunnel entrances to what is likely an underground facility at the base.
Tura Caves | EGYPT
4. Phase Three: Bora
In the summer of 2016, Iran announced the existence of the Dezful’s predecessor called the Zolfaghar with a range of 700 km, almost double the Fateh-110. When paraded, it became clear that the Zolfaghar was almost physically identical to the Fateh-110, with a slightly larger diameter. A year later, Iran launched the Zolfaghar at ISIS targets in Syria, roughly 700 km away, confirming its stated range. Questions lingered as to how Iran increased the Zolfaghar’s range, though a strong hypothesis was by using carbon fiber for its airframe.
It was recently revealed that Saudi Arabia built a solid-fuel missile production plant at the Al-Watah strategic missile base, likely with Chinese assistance. While Saudi Arabia is secretive about all aspects of its missile program, open source information made it possible for CNS analysts to uncover the base and assess the purpose of its new facilities, as well as understand the extent of Chinese help.
1. The Mysterious Jericho
Al-Watah | SAUDI ARABIA
In the early 1970s, Israel began work on the Jericho II—a medium range ballistic missile (MBRM) capable of carrying an 1,800 kg payload a distance of at least 1,500 km. Starting around 1973, Israel cooperated with South Africa to develop the South African Husky MRBM based on the Jericho II. The Husky was tested three times as the RSA-3 space launch vehicle from Overberg test range in South Africa.
Ash Shamli | SAUDI ARABIA
5. The Shavit
Sinop | TURKEY
Prince Sultan inaugurates Raniyya missile base, 1997
RSA-3 on display in South Africa. Armscontrolwonk
5. The Mystery of the Bora 2
TR-300 Kasirga on display at 2015 IDEF.
Image (C) CeeGee cc-by-sa 4.0
Missiles of the
Chamran | IRAN
Bombing Faj Attan. YouTube
Bandar Abbas | IRAN
Return to experience
Defense Security Cooperation Agency, “Bahrain—M31 Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (GMLRS) Unitary and Army Tactical Mission System (ATACMS) T2K Unitary Missile,” News Release, U.S. Department of Defense, September 28, 2018, https://www.dsca.mil/sites/default/files/mas/bahrain_18-22.pdf
CIA Directorate of Intelligence, “Egypt: Aspirations for Missile Production,” NESA 88-10024, Langley, VA: CIA, 1988.
CIA Directorate of Intelligence, “Prospects for Special Weapons Proliferation and Control,” NIE 5-91C/2, Langley, VA: CIA, 1991.
CIA Office of Scientific Intelligence, Scientific Intelligence Memorandum: The United Arab Republic Missile Program, OSI-SM/63-3, Langley, VA: CIA, 1963.
“Egypt: Missile,” Nuclear Threat Initiative, https://www.nti.org/learn/countries/egypt/delivery-systems/
Joseph S. Bermudez Jr., "Pyramid Scheme: Egypt's ballistic missile test and launch facility," Jane's Intelligence Review, 9 February 2010; Owen L. Sirrs, Nasser and the Missile Age in the Middle East (New York: Routledge, 2006), p. 47-8.
Nial Charlton, “Brief Communcations: The Tura Caves,” in The Journal of Egyptian Archaeology Vol 64 (1978), p. 128, http://www.gizapyramids.org/static/pdf%20library/charlton_jea_64_1978.pdf
“Sakr Factory for Developed Industries,” Nuclear Threat Initiative, https://www.nti.org/learn/facilities/412/
“Beit Zachariah/Sedot Mikha,” April 1, 2019, https://www.globalsecurity.org/wmd/world/israel/sedot_mikha.htm
Gerald Steinberg, “Israel: Case Study for International Missile Trade and Nonproliferation,” in The International Missile Bazaar: The New Suppliers’ Network, eds. William C. Potter and Harlan W. Jencks, (Boulder: Westview Press, 1994), p. 235-253.
“Israel: Missile,” Nuclear Threat Initiative, https://www.nti.org/learn/countries/israel/delivery-systems/
Israel Aerospace Industries, “MLM Division,” April 1, 2019, http://www.iai.co.il/17632-en/Groups_SystemMissileandSpace_MLM.aspx
Jeffrey Lewis, “Revisiting South Africa’s Bomb,” Armscontrolwonk (blog), December 3, 2015, https://www.armscontrolwonk.com/archive/1200544/revisiting-south-africas-bomb/
“The MD 620 Jericho Ballistic Missile,” in Dassault: 50 Years of Aeronautical Adventure 1945-1955 (Volume 2: The Programs), eds. Claude Carlier and Luc Berger, (Dassault Aviation, 1996), p. 210-215.
“Palmachim,” Nuclear Threat Initiative, https://www.nti.org/learn/facilities/440/
“Iraq: Missiles,” Nuclear Threat Initiative, https://www.nti.org/learn/countries/iraq/delivery-systems/
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