The Online Encyclopedia and Dictionary







For the comic character, see Scud: The Disposable Assassin.
 missile wz. 8/K-14 (Scud-B)
Polish missile wz. 8/K-14 (Scud-B)

Scud is the NATO reporting name (not an acronym) for a Soviet army short-range liquid propellant surface-to-surface ballistic missile, the SS-1. The Makeyev OKB Design Bureau developed it from the German V2 in the 1950s. Variants were the -B (SS-1C) in 1961 and the -C (SS-1D) in 1965, both of which could carry either a conventional high-explosive, a 5 to 80 kiloton nuclear, or a chemical (thickened VX) warhead. The -D (SS-1E) variant developed in the 1980s can deliver a conventional high-explosive warhead, a fuel-air warhead, 40 runway-penetrator sub-munitions , or 100 x 5 kg anti-personnel bomblets.

All models are 11.25 meters long (except Scud-A, which is one meter shorter) and 0.88 meters in diameter. They are propelled by a single engine burning either kerosene and nitric acid in the Scud-A, or UDMH and RFNA (Russian SG-02 Tonka 250) in other models.

The name "Scud" is also used to refer to an Iraqi modification of the same missile. Altered for greater range, it came to particular prominence during the Gulf War, when a number of missiles were fired at Israel (40) and Saudi Arabia (46). The US-made Patriot missile system claimed successes in shooting down the missiles, but many critics claim that the accuracy of the Patriot missiles has been greatly exaggerated. The missiles were one of Iraq's most threatening offensive weapons, especially to Israel. There was great concern that they would be armed with chemical or biological warheads.

In the end the Scuds were responsible for the death of one Israeli directly and for the deaths of 28 US soldiers (the missile struck a barracks in Saudi Arabia). The hunt for Scuds used up some one third of the Coalition air power. They were easily mobile carried on the backs of trucks and were hard to track down.

All "Scud" versions derive from the German V-2 rocket (just like the majority of early American missiles and rockets) and are (very) inaccurate due to their construction. The Iraqi modifications increased range, at the cost of accuracy.

As with some other missiles, the military advantage of this weapon consists in its ease of transportation, on a TEL vehicle (transporter-erector-launcher). This mobility allows for a choice of firing position and increases the survivability of the weapon system (to such an extent, that of the approximately 100 launchers claimed destroyed by coalition pilots and special forces in the Gulf War not a single destruction could be confirmed afterwards).

The Iraqis developed four versions: Scud, longer-range Scud, Al Hussein, and Al Abbas . Apart from the almost unmodified weapon these were not successful missiles as they tended to break up in flight and had small warheads.

Scud missile (including derivatives) is one of the few ballistic missiles to be used in actual warfare, second only to V2 in terms of combat launches (Tocka-U being the only other ballistic missile fired "in anger"). Besides the aforementioned Gulf War, Scud missiles were used in several regional conflicts, most prominently by Soviet forces in Afghanistan, and by the Iranians and the Iraqis in so called "War of the cities". The latter occurred in 1988, when in response to Iranian missile strikes against Baghdad, Iraq fired 190 Scud missiles at Iranian cities including Tehran. These strikes resulted in thousands of deaths and widespread panic in Iran, perhaps resulting in a more favourable peace treaty for Iraq. There was also a small number of Scud missiles used in the 1994 civil war in Yemen and by Russian forces in Chechnya in 1996.

Countries that possess Scud-Bs are: Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bulgaria, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Libya, Poland, Slovakia, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, the United Arab Emirates, Vietnam, and Yemen. The Democratic Republic of Congo and Egypt have purchased Scud-Cs in addition to Scud-Bs. Syria has acquired the Scud-D, and Iraq's Al-Hussein missile also has a Scud-D range. The North Korean, Iranian, and Pakistani missile programs have used Scud technology to develop missiles with ranges said to be in the 1,300-to 1,500-kilometer range.

General characteristics

NATO Scud-A Scud-B Scud-C Scud-D
U.S. DIA SS-1b SS-1c SS-1d SS-1e
Deployment Date 1957 1965 1965 1980s
Withdrawn 1978
Range 130 km 300 km 575-600 km 700 km
CEP (NATO estimate) 4000 m 900 m 900 m 50 m

See also

List of missiles

External links

Last updated: 05-13-2005 07:56:04