1. SS-1 Scud and Variants[22]

The Scud is a mobile, Russian-made, short-range, tactical ballistic surface-to-surface (hence the nomenclature abbreviation SS) missile system.[23] (See Figure 2.) The Scud (SS-1c) missile can travel up to 280 kilometers (168 miles).[24] The Iraqi military used modified variants of the Scud extensively in the Iran-Iraq War and the Gulf War. These variants, such as the Al-Husayn and the Al-Hijarah, had significantly longer ranges (600 and 750 kilometers respectively),[25] enabling Iraq to strike more distant targets—thus carrying the fuel and IRFNA farther away from the launch location.

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Figure 2.  A Scud missile on its launcher[26]

At launch, a basic Iraqi Scud contains about 3,500 kilograms (7,700 pounds) of IRFNA and about 1,000 kilograms (2,200 pounds) of fuel. Most of the IRFNA and fuel is used within the first 80 seconds of flight when the missile is gaining enough speed to reach its target. When this speed is reached, the Scud is designed to shut off its engine by shutting off the propellant tanks (a fuel tank and an oxidizer tank). The unused propellants—roughly 150 kilo-grams (330 pounds) of RFNA and

50 kilograms (110 pounds) of fuel—remain on board for the remainder of the flight.[27]

There were various ways in which servicemembers could have encountered either the odor and fumes of unexpended fuel and IRFNA or the missile fragments coated with these toxic substances: Patriot missiles intercepted some Scuds, some Scuds failed to explode when hitting their targets, and some simply broke apart in mid-air and came down in pieces.[28] Some of the impact sites of Scud fragments were near Coalition force locations and have been documented in numerous veterans’ reports. Figure 3 illustrates where some of these Scud impacts occurred.

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Figure 3.  Map illustrating Scud impacts and intercepts derived from veterans' reports

2. SA-2 Guideline

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Figure 4.  SA-2 Guideline missile on its launcher[29]

The SA-2 Guideline is a Russian-made, medium-to-high altitude, surface-to-air missile (Figure 4), using IRFNA as a fuel oxidizer. The conventional warhead weighs 195 kilograms (429 pounds).[30] The size of its oxidizer tank (which holds the IRFNA) could not be found in publicly-available weapons information.

Coalition air forces and artillery units aggressively targeted and attacked Guideline missile sites, denying Iraq the wide use of this missile. Any potential IRFNA exposure from a Guideline would probably have occurred only if Coalition forces were near a site soon after it was attacked, or if forces overran a site and discovered armed missile systems and storage tanks containing IRFNA and fuel. Documented attacks on SA-2 Guideline sites during the Gulf War appear on the map in Figure 5.[31]

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Figure 5.  SA-2 Guideline sites attacked during the Gulf War

3. HY-2 Silkworm

The Silkworm is a Chinese-made, anti-ship, surface-to-surface missile system. The Silkworm has a maximum range of 95 kilometers (approximately 57 miles).[33] The size of its IRFNA tank could not be found in publicly available information.

After the ground campaign, Coalition forces occupied locations where the missiles had been stored, risking exposure to IRFNA. Explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) personnel destroyed numerous Silkworm missiles at Umm Qasr in March 1991.[34] No casualties or symptoms of exposure to any chemical warfare agents were reported during or after the demolition operations.

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Figure 6.  Silkworm missile stored at Umm Qasr[32]

Figure 6 shows a Silkworm missile at an Iraqi storage and maintenance facility near the city of Umm Qasr, on the Kuwait-Iraqi border. As mentioned previously, another Silkworm-maintenance and IRFNA-storage facility was located in Kuwait City at the Kuwaiti Girls’ School. The map in Figure 7 shows the location of these two facilities.

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Figure 7.  Location of Iraqi Silkworm maintenance and storage facilities during the Gulf War

4. AS-9 Kyle

The AS-9 Kyle is a Russian-made, anti-radar, air-to-surface missile. (See Figure 8.) The missile is approximately 19.5 feet long, 17 inches in diameter, and has a wingspan of 5.5 feet. It carries a conventional 150-kilogram (approximately 340-pound) high-explosive warhead and has a range of 54 miles.[36] The missile’s liquid-propellant propulsion system consists of a fuel tank and an oxidizer tank. The oxidizer (IRFNA) tank capacity is estimated at 72 liters (approximately 20 gallons).[37]

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Figure 8.  Drawing and specifications of AS-9 Kyle missile[35]

This missile was not used to attack any US radar facilities during the Gulf War. The only possible hazard may have been from limited direct contact by Coalition personnel. The Office of the Special Assistant has received one veteran report involving IRFNA[38] and what is believed to be a Kyle missile. While the veteran did not specifically identify the weapon as the Kyle, he reported that he removed the fuel and oxidizer (IRFNA) tanks from an enemy missile that was captured during the war. A missile subject matter expert on the Special Assistant’s staff concluded that this missile was most likely a Kyle missile.[39] He based this conclusion on the veteran’s description of the missile, comparison of photographs of the missile (Figure 13) and its fin pattern with a drawing of the Kyle missile (Figure 8), and analysis of another publicly available photograph of the Kyle missile.[40] An additional photograph used to identify the missile and excerpts of the veteran’s interview appear in Section VI.

D. Similarities and Differences between IRFNA and Chemical Warfare Agents

In training, military personnel are taught basic indicators of exposure to chemical warfare agents on the battlefield. Reddening and blistering of the skin are symptoms of possible exposure to a blister agent.[41] Twitching, pinpointed pupils, and loss of muscle control are some symptoms of possible exposure to a nerve agent.[42] However, dangerous industrial chemicals and acids, like IRFNA, cause similar symptoms that may be confused with those of exposure to a chemical warfare agent. For example, eye and skin irritation are also symptoms of exposure to unsymmetrical dimethylhydrazine (UDMH) and nitric acid.[43][44]

Figure 9 shows characteristic exposure symptoms of IRFNA and several chemical warfare agents that Coalition leadership expected Iraq might have used during the Gulf War (although weapons inspectors never found lewisite). Like blister agents, such as lewisite and mustard, IRFNA causes burning and irritation when it comes into contact with skin and mucous membranes.[45][46][47]










Burning Sensation in the Eyes






Immediate Stinging to Skin


xxxxx       xxxxxxx          xxxxx






xxxxx      xxxxx    
Inflammation of Soft Tissue          xxxxxxx            xxxxxxx




Respiratory Irritation    xxxxxxx





Pulmonary Edema (fluid build-up in the lungs)     xxxxxxx


xxxxxxx xxxxxx


Figure 9. Characteristic exposure effects of IRFNA and chemical warfare agents.

Most blister agents cause little or no pain at the time of exposure. "Exceptions are lewisite and phosgene oxime (CX), which cause immediate pain on contact."[53] IRFNA also produces "immediate, severe and penetrating burns."[54]

These same chemical warfare agents, however, have some significant characteristics that distinguish them from IRFNA. Some chemical warfare agents have a pleasant odor or no odor at all, and the onset of respiratory distress is not immediate. (See Figure 10.) IRFNA, on the other hand, has a distinctive "acrid, suffocating odor."[55]














Clear to Brownish









Mown Grass





Boiling Point (�C)*







Short to Moderate





*Water Boils At 100 � C

Figure 10. Properties of IRFNA and chemical warfare agents.

IRFNA on the skin, as mentioned previously, causes "deep and painful burns."[61] No chemical warfare agent is as corrosive as IRFNA. Nor does any chemical warfare agent fume quite like IRFNA does when it passes from a liquid to a gas. No known chemical warfare agent corrodes or eats away at the chemical protective suit like IRFNA, which reduces the suit’s protective capabilities.[62]

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