Solid-Propellant Missile Developments

Delivery Systems - Annex C


3.1 Iraqi Composite Solid-Propellant Composition

The composite propellants fielded by Iraq were “conventional,” being formulations widely used throughout the industry and based on a hydroxyl-terminated poly butadiene (HTPB) binder heavily loaded with ammonium perchlorate (AP) and aluminum powder. In addition to these main chemicals, a number of other chemicals are used, such as plasticizer, burning rate modifiers and curing agents.

Table 9
The Al Fat’h and Al ‘Ubur Propellant Formulation
Compound % by mass
Ammonium Perchlorate (AP) (200-Micron Particle Size) 35
Ammonium Perchlorate (AP) (50-80 Micron Particle Size) 35
Aluminum Powder (< 200 Micron particle Size) 14
Hydroxy Terminated Poly Butadiene (HTPB) 11-12
Dioctyl Azelate (DOZ) - or - Dioctyl Adepate (DOA) 3.5
Ferric Oxide 1
2,4-Toluene Diisocyanate (TDI) ~1
Tri[1-(2-Methyl Aziridinyl)] Phosphine Oxide (MAPO) 0.3

Of these ingredients, none are explicitly prohibited. UNSCR 715 Annex IV references chemicals subject to monitoring and verification, although the Import/Export Mechanism approved by UNSCR 1051 requires prior notification of imports. The Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) refers to Category II chemicals, which are subject to case by case review. Many of these chemicals are classified as “Dual Use,” meaning they may other uses. The primary components of the Iraqi composite solid-propellant ingredients fall within these control classifications as shown in Table 10.

Table 10
The Al Fat’h and Al ‘Ubur Propellant Control Classifications

Chemical UNSCR 715/1051 MTCR Cat II Dual Use
Ammonium Perchlorate (AP) Y Y N
Aluminum Powder N Y Y
Hydroxyl Terminated Poly Butadiene (HTPB) Y Y Y
Dioctyl Azelate (DOZ) N N Y
Ferric Oxide (FE2O3) Y Y Y
2,4-Toluene Diisocyanate (TDI) N N Y



3.2 Iraqi Composite Solid-Propellant Infrastructure

To support its solid-propellant program, Iraq constructed, rebuilt, or repaired equipment and facilities destroyed by UNSCOM or Coalition forces. The Iraqi effort was relatively successful at indigenous production, although some key materials still had to be imported.The Iraqi composite solid-propellant capabilities were centered initially in the Al Kindi General Company and the Al Rashid General Company. Due to the lack of involvement with ballistic missile developments, Al Kindi and its associated facilities will not be discussed in detail in this document.

The Al Rashid General Company (see Figure 13) controlled most if not all of the major solid-propellant missile initiatives and the related production facilities.

The Al Fat’h Company functioned primarily in a design, project management, and oversight role for the Al Fat’h missile. Headquartered in the Al ‘Amiriyah section of Baghdad, the company was founded in 1996 at Ibn-al-Haytham and moved to Al ‘Amiriyah in the late 1990’s.

Within the Al Rashid State Company, the Al Ma’mun Factory was the center of composite solid-propellant research and production. Within the complex were facilities for composite propellant mixing, casting and curing. In addition, R&D efforts in the area of composite propellants were conducted.

The Al Musayyib Solid Rocket Motor Factory at Al Mutasim contained horizontal rocket motor test cells and motor assembly buildings. All of the known Al Rashid associate solid-propellant static tests were conducted at Al Musayyib.

The Al Amin Factory and Thu-al-Fiqar [Tho-al-Fekar] Factory produced motor casings and nozzles.


3.3 Al Fat’h Missile Technical Specifications

The Al Fat’h was originally intended to be produced in two variants, guided and unguided. The missile was a solid-propellant ballistic missile weighing approximately 1,200 kg with an overall length of approximately 6.7 m and a diameter of 0.5 m for the main body and 1.4 m with the aft fin assembly. During the development of the system, large inaccuracies in the unguided variant were encountered. All the Al Fat’h missiles recovered to date are unguided. The Al Fat’h was designed to be launched from a Transporter-Erector-Launcher (TEL) based upon the Volga (SA-2) missile launcher. The composite propellants utilized in the Al Fat’h are “conventional,” being a general formulation widely used throughout the industry. The propellant is based on a Hydroxyl Terminated Poly Butadiene (HTPB) binder heavily loaded with Ammonium Perchlorate (AP) and aluminum powder. In addition to these main chemicals, a number of other chemicals are used, such as plasticizer, burning rate modifiers, and curing agents.


3.4 Al Fat’h Missile Manufacturing Difficulties

There were apparently three aspects of the Al Fat’h manufacturing process that presented the Iraqis with significant challenges. The first was the unavailability of maraging steel sheets of sufficient size. Maraging steel has the advantage of being easy to form in its original state, but when annealed, to provide excellent properties as far as rigidity, strength, and crack resistance. Without maraging steel, the Al Fat’h had to be constructed from 30CrMoV9 sheet steel. Forming this sheet steel into the cylingrical shapes needed for the rocket motor casing and airframe was difficult and created problems.

A second manufacturing issue in the construction of the Al Fat’h was the lack of large propellant mixing capabilities. The original 1,200-liter (300 gallon) propellant mixers acquired through the BADR-2000 program were destroyed by the UN. Although at least two of the bowls and one or both mixers were restored by Iraq, these were in turn destroyed by the Iraqis prior to the return of the UN in 2002 and hidden. Either way, the equipment was unavailable for use in the propellant mixing for the Al Fat’h rocket motor. The Al Fat’h contained approximately 830 kg of propellant. While the BADR-2000 bowls would have provided the capability of easily filling the Al Fat’h motor in a single pour, the lack of these bowls forced the Iraqis to use four or five smaller 120-liter (30 gallon) bowls. These bowls, mixed in two available mixers, were then poured sequentially into the motor casing. A senior Iraqi official stated the process worked well but admitted that one out of every 10 motors exploded during motor burn. In addition, this process also eliminated the possibility of multiple simultaneous motor castings.

The final major manufacturing issue was the inability to completely indigenously manufacture the G&C system for the Al Fat’h. The Al Fat’h was intended to use a strap-down inertial guidance system. A highly accurate strap-down system with digital flight computer, coupled with an adequate canard terminal guidance system, would most likely have provided the Al Fat’h with an accuracy that met the specified 150 m CEP accuracy for the guided variant at a range of 150 km. This level of accuracy, coupled especially with the submunition warhead, would have made the Al Fat’h a more accurate and lethal tactical weapon system.


3.5 Al Fat’h Missile Program Organization

As previously mentioned, while the Al Fat’h General Company was responsible for design and program management aspects of the Al Fat’h program, the Al Rashid General Company was primarily the manufacturer. The Al Rashid General Company utilized a variety of subordinate companies and contracted sources in the manufacturing process. The general organization of Al Rashid is presented in Figure 14 below.

Within the Al Rashid Company, the Al Ma’mun Composite Solid-Propellant Plant at Latifiyyah was the center of composite solid-propellant research and production. Within the complex were facilities for composite propellant mixing, casting, and curing. Motors for existing systems, like the LUNA-M, were reengineered with composite propellant. Motors for new systems, like the Al Fat’h, were also assembled and inspected here. In addition, research and development efforts in the area of composite propellants were conducted at both Ma’mun and Al Kindi.

The Al Musayyib Solid Rocket Motor Support and Test Facility at Al Mutasim contained horizontal rocket motor test cells and motor assembly buildings. All of the Al Rashid associated solid-propellant static tests were conducted at Al Musayyib.

The Al Amin Solid Rocket Motor Case Production Plant at Habbaniyah produced motor casings and nozzles and undertook hydrostatic testing of the motor case. Figure 15 shows an Al-Fat’h motor nozzle.


3.6 Al Fat’h Test Launches

ISG has compiled data concerning flight tests for the Al Fat’h missile from various sources shown in Figure 16.

Al Fat’h Flight Test Launches
B. Count Missile
Action Date Range
Lateral Dev.
Results Purpose
1 F6   TEST FLT 1 9/1/2000 4 ? F Motor Perform.
2 F8   TEST FLT 2 10/23/2000 83.4 ? S Motor Perform.
3 F9   TEST FLT 3 11/18/2001 118?? ? S to confirm
last test
4 F??   TEST FLT 4 3/17/2001 117.7 11.5R S Motor Perform.
5 F12   TEST FLT 5 3/27/2001 133 10L S Motor Perform.
6 F13   TEST FLT 6 4/29/2001 88 34o F PRELIM TEST
7 F14   TEST FLT 7 9/30/2001 7 n/a F PRELIM TEST
8 F17   TEST FLT 8 8/8/2001 161 13.5R S Rocket Perform.
& Range
9 F18   TEST FLT 9 8/8/2001 6 n/a F 1st spin mtr test
10 F19   TEST FLT 10 8/22/2001 7 n/a F perform. using
frontal fins
11 F20   TEST FLT 11 9/6/2001 103 n/a P.S. perform. & range with spin motor
12 F21   TEST FLT 12 11/3/2001 90 n/a P.S. perform. & range with spin motor
13 F22   TEST FLT 15 12/5/2001 103 20L S perform. & range with spin motor
14 F23   TEST FLT 13 11/22/2001 134 13o S perform. & range
15 F24   TEST FLT 14 12/5/2001 160.5 13R S perform. & range
16 F25   TEST FLT 16 12/5/2001 ??? 50+ P.S. perform. & range
17 F26   TEST FLT 17 ????? 158 2.4L S perform. & range
18 F37 M24 TEST FLT 18 1/26/2002 151 4.2 S perform. & range
19 F39 M24 TEST FLT 19 3/14/2002 143 ? P.S. 1ST CLUSTER WARHEAD TEST
20 F43   TEST FLT 32 11/25/2002 131 4.4L S approval of
cluster warhead
21 F46 M55 TEST FLT 20 4/22/2002 147 8o S testing warhead
22 F59   TEST FLT 21 9/6/2002 ukn ukn F accuracy & range
23 F60   TEST FLT 22 9/6/2002 ukn ukn F accuracy & range
24 F67 M71 TEST FLT 23 7/22/2002 145 8R S accuracy & range
25 F70   TEST FLT 27 9/30/2002 158.2 6R S accuracy & range
26 F74 M80 TEST FLT 26 8/24/2002 151.1 13R S accuracy & range & warhead
27 F75 M78 TEST FLT 24 8/18/2002 4 n/a F accuracy & range & warhead
28 F76 M90 TEST FLT 25 8/22/2002 145 15L S accuracy & range
29 F78* M87 TEST FLT 31 8/22/2002 151.1 ukn S approval of rocket
30 F79   TEST FLT 28 9/30/2002 154.4 6.3R S accuracy & range
31 F80   TEST FLT 29 9/30/2002 114.6 n/a F accuracy & range
32 F84 M90 TEST FLT 30 10/28/2002 147 ukn S approval of rocket
Note 1: Apparent transition of date, 9 June or 6 September.
Figure 16. Iraqi accounting of Al Fat’h missile testing.



Posted: Apr 23, 2007 09:37 AM
Last Updated: Apr 23, 2007 09:37 AM