28 May 2010

Tools of War: Scud Missile

If you ask the average American to tell you the name of a missile, "Scud" will probably be the first word out of their mouth. Thanks to the antics of that great gift to humanity, Saddam Hussein, the Scud has become a household name, recognized by most anyone over the age of thirty.

The Scud is actually an evolution of the German V-2 rocket, and while the Soviets only developed four variants, those variants have in turn inspired variants themselves, with Iraq's Al-Hussein (a Scud-B variant) being the most notorious, and North Korea's Rodong-1 (a Scud-C variant) being the most recent to acquire media attention.

The Scud platform is capable of conventional, chemical, or nuclear payloads, the last being of particular concern in recent news, as North Korea is believed to have 6-8 Rodong-1's fitted with nuclear payloads.

While newer variants such as the Scud-D and possibly the Rodong-1 have modern guidance systems, earlier versions were notoriously inaccurate. While nuclear payloads make this a non-issue, Scuds equipped with conventional and chemical payloads were far less impressive in operation than originally believed, to the point that "scud" developed an alternate, slang definition in American lexicon - A female who appears to be attractive from a distance but is in fact unattractive when viewed closely.

NATO codename Scud-A Scud-B Scud-C Scud-D
U.S. DIA SS-1b SS-1c SS-1d SS-1e
Official designation R-11 R-17/R-300

Deployment Date 1957 1964 1965? 1989?
Length 10.7 m 11.25 m 11.25 m 12.29 m
Width 0.88 m 0.88 m 0.88 m 0.88 m
Launch weight 4,400 kg 5,900 kg 6,400 kg 6,500 kg
Range 180 km 300 km 550 km 300 km
Payload 950 kg 985 kg 600 kg 985 kg
Accuracy (CEP) 3000 m 450 m 700 m 50 m

Here's a nice little animation video, probably from our friends at Raytheon.


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