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Effect of Patriot Interception on SCUD Warhead Dissemination

[ (b)(2) ]

23 JAN 91, 1115 HRS, SENT BY: [ (b)(6) ]

23 January 1991

Subject: Effect of Patriot Interception on SCUD Warhead 

Reference:  OICC Task 3647, What if a Patriot hits a SCUD with 
1)Mustard 2) Most Persistent Nerve Agent 3) Anthrax-Range of 
Options, Hit High/Low/Mid Altitude Range, due 01/23/91-0500; OICC 
Task 3657, Biological Warfare (BW) Employment, due 01/23/91-1200.

     Iraqi Chemical Delivery By Missile

           Iraq is assessed to have a limited number of SCUD 
warheads with chemical fills. The most likely chemical agents for 
these warheads are the persistent blister agent mustard and the 
semipersistent nerve agent GF. Both binary and unitary fill 
architecture may be available. The most likely warhead
configuration for these munitions is a bulk fill, but it is 
possible that Iraq has successfully incorporated submunitions 
similar to those in cluster bombs into their SCUD chemical 
warheads. The use of submunitions could further improve
dissemination efficiency.

     Chemical Dissemination by SCUD Missile

     Normal warhead function for a SCUD carrying chemicals is to 
airburst at some altitude. The burst spreads the chemical agent 
over a wide area. The Army Chemical Research Development and 
Engineering Center (CRDEC) estimates a bulk filled SCUD can cover 
an area of about 688 hectares to a contamination of 1.0 mg-
min/m3 when filled with mustard; a GF fill could reach the same 
contamination level over 733 hectares. Both estimates are highly 
dependent on weather conditions in the target area, and could vary 

        It is important to note that the missiles which have 
reached Tel Aviv and Riyadh contain significantly less payload 
than the figures assumed to make these estimates of contamination. 
The fill of the mustard-filled SCUD was 1311 pounds, while the 
fill weight for GF was 1166 pounds. The extended range SCUDs could 
carry only 100 to 400 pounds of agent. This will significantly 
reduce the area of contamination.

        The inclusion of submunitions could alter the probable 
area of contamination. Submunitions can be disseminated over a 
very wide area. The relatively hard submunitions can be forcefully 
ejected from the warhead by a blast. Once released, they are 
aerodynamically designed to land upright and dispense agent upon 
impact. This can be a very good way to disseminate biological 
agents as well.

        There is no evidence to conclude that Iraq has a warhead 
with chemical submunitions. No information on testing has been 
obtained, and experimentation with bursts at relatively high 
release points has not been seen. Nonetheless, Iraq does have 
submunition technology and chemical agents and missiles. They
have the potential to make such a weapon, and could have done so 
without our knowledge.

     Biological Warheads

        Iraq is assessed to have some type of biological delivery 
capability. No details of the systems which Iraq would use to 
deliver BW agents are known. Some of the possibilities for BW 
delivery include cluster bombs, missile warheads and spray 
systems. Based on available information, none of these systems can 
be confirmed as containing BW agents.

        Dissemination of BW agents from missiles could be an 
effective way to deliver toxic agent. The missile would ideally be 
detonated at a relatively high altitude, perhaps greater than 10 
kilometers, releasing submunitions loaded with agent. Due to the 
extreme virulence of the BW agents, these submunitions would
be spread over a very wide area, perhaps as large as hundreds of 
square miles.

        The technology of BW dissemination using a missile warhead 
with submunitions is sophisticated, but within the capability of 
Iraq. Therefore, use of BW through this dissemination system 
cannot be ruled out. As noted above, Iraq has the agents, the 
missiles and the submunition production technology to produce 
these BW weapons. Their ability to effectively use them is 

     Estimated Effects of Patriot Intercept

        The result of a Patriot intercept on a chemical warhead 
would be a much different event than an explosive detonation of a 
warhead. Rather than being explosively ejected at the ideal 
height, the agent will just drain out of the warhead. This will 
reduce the area of contamination significantly. Also, since the 
intercept will occur at an altitude in excess of the desired burst 
height, the losses of agent to the atmosphere will increase and 
further reduce the area of contamination. The impact of the 
Patriot could also act to aerosolize some of the agent. (This 
assumes the weapon would be set to burst lower than probable 
Patriot intercept.) In no case would Patriot intercept be expected 
to increase dissemination of agent.

        The destruction of the agent by the Patriot system would 
not mean the loss of agent toxicity. The Patriot wold not destroy 
the chemical or biological agent, just make it more difficult to 
reach the ground. Therefore, the Patriot will not completely 
eliminate the potential of the Iraqi missiles to deliver 
chemicals, but can greatly reduce their effect.

        The effect of intercept altitude makes prediction of 
expected contamination very difficult. If intercepted high enough, 
the missile payload would be completely diluted by the atmosphere 
without producing any contaminated area. Lower level intercepts 
will result in a much smaller area of contamination than the 
missile, but possibly with higher levels of contamination.

POC is      [ (b)(6) ]



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