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Iran Working Towards Advanced ICBM

11:03 AM, Dec 17, 2009 • By JOHN NOONAN
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I'm a little late coming in on the latest Iranian missile salvo, but there a few salient points still worth mentioning. First, the Sajjil-2 is a solid fuel rocket. That's the type of power source that we use in our own Minuteman III rockets, as solid fuel is stable in flight and requires no preparation time ahead of a launch. Liquid fuel, which powers the Iranian Shahab-3 fleet, is highly corrosive and sloshes around in a rocket's downstage, destabilizing flight and degrading accuracy. It's so toxic that the fuel eats away at a missile's internal tanks, and thus needs to be inserted right before launch. That prep time is important, as it gives us a little extra warning prior to a hostile missile launch, which could be used to kill Iranian birds before they fly. With this new Sajjil-2 system, Iran has the ability to keep their missiles hot and ready for execution, killing any chance of an advanced warning or neutralization actions prior to a launch.

Second concern is that this missile is staged. Our Minuteman III ICBMs are a three stage, solid fuel system that have impressive range and accuracy (particularly impressive considering the fact that the fleet is approaching its 40th anniversary). Iran now has a two stage, solid fuel rocket. When they figure out how to add that third stage to the Sajill-2, they'll have a delivery system with the legs to reach the east coast of the United States.

The Sajjil, by the way, is most definitely not a space launch system. It's a weapon, period dot. And it's designed for one purpose: strategic delivery of a nuclear reentry system. This constitutes a direct threat to US bases in the region, our European allies, and will eventually result in Iran being able to hold the entire eastern seaboard at risk with nuclear-tipped ICBMs.

I won't make the obvious points about what a great idea it was to kill European missile defense, or the worth of a deeply flawed White House engagement policy, or the fact that sanctions will have little success setting back a missile program that's already so far along -- because all three points have been preached on this blog ad naseum. The White House has already made it's bed with Iran, all of us will have to sleep in it.