AskDefine | Define scud

Dictionary Definition

scud n : the act of moving along swiftly (as before a gale) [syn: scudding]


1 run or move very quickly or hastily; "She dashed into the yard" [syn: dart, dash, scoot, flash, shoot]
2 run before a gale [syn: rack] [also: scudding, scudded]

User Contributed Dictionary



Alternative spellings


  1. To race along swiftly (especially used of clouds).
  2. In the context of "intransitive|nautical": To run before a high wind with no sails set.
  3. To hit.
  4. To speed.
  5. To skim.


Northeast Dialect 2005}}


  1. The act of scudding.
  2. Clouds or rain driven by the wind.
  3. A gust of wind.
  4. A scab on a wound.

Extensive Definition

Scud is a series of tactical ballistic missiles developed by the Soviet Union during the Cold War and exported widely to other countries. The term comes from the NATO reporting name SS-1 Scud which was attached to the missile by Western intelligence agencies. The Russian names for the missile are the R-11 (the first version), R-17 and R-300 Elbrus (later developments). The name Scud has been widely used to refer to these missiles and the wide variety of derivative variants developed in other countries based on the Soviet design.


The first use of the term Scud was in the NATO name SS-1b Scud-A, applied to the R-11 ballistic missile. The earlier R-1 missile had carried the NATO name SS-1 Scunner, but was of a very different design, almost directly a copy of the German V-2. The R-11 used technology gained from the V-2 as well, but was a new design, smaller and differently shaped than the V-2 and R-1 weapons. The R-11 was developed by the Korolyev OKB and entered service in 1957. The most revolutionary innovation in the R-11 was the engine, designed by A.M. Isaev. Far simpler than the V-2's multi-chamber design, and employing an anti-oscillation baffle to prevent chugging, it was a forerunner to the larger engines used in Russia's space rockets.
Further developed variants were the R-300 Elbrus / SS-1c Scud-B in 1961 and the SS-1d Scud-C 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 SS-1e Scud-D variant developed in the 1980s can deliver a terminally guided warhead capable of greater precision.
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 or nitric acid - IRFNA and UDMH (Russian TG-02 like German Tonka 250) as liquid igniter (self ignition with IRFNA) in all models.


Soviet Union


The first of the "Scud" series, designated R-11 (SS-1B Scud-A) originated in a 1951 requirement for a ballistic missile with similar performance to the German V-2 rocket, but half its size. With the Wasserfall (an anti-aircraft version of the V-2) as a model the R-11 was developed by engineer Victor Makeev, who was then working in the OKB-1, headed by Sergey Korolev. The two men disagreed over the propulsion of the missile, with Korolev favouring the use of liquid oxygen, while Makeev advocated the use of toxic, but storable fuel. Makeev's version, that first flew on April 18 1953, was fitted with an Isayev engine using kerosene and nitric acid as a propellant. On 13 December 1953, a production order was passed with SKB-385 in Zlatoust, a factory dedicated to producing long-range rockets. In June 1955, Makeev was appointed chief designer of the SKB-385 to oversee the program and, in July, the R-11 was formally accepted into military service. The definitive R-11M, designed to carry a nuclear warhead, was accepted officially into service on April 1, 1958. The launch system received the GRAU designation 8K11.
Like the V-2, the R-11 relied on inertial guidance, and its flight was controlled by four graphite vanes in the engine exhaust, that were active only while the motor was burning. The R-11M had a maximum range of 270 km, but when carrying a nuclear warhead, this was reduced to 150 km. At maximum range, it was found to have an average range error 1.19 km and an azimuth error of 0.66 km. Its purpose was strictly as a mobile nuclear strike vector, giving the Soviet Army the ability to hit European targets from forward areas. To give the system a sufficient mobility on the battlefield, the R-11 was mounted on the chassis of an IS-2 tank, that became its first transporter erector launcher. The only payload was a nuclear warhead with an estimated yield of 50 kilotons.
A naval variant, the R-11FM (SS-N-1 Scud-A) was first tested at Kapustin Yar in February 1955, and was first launched from a converted Project 611 (Zulu class) submarine in September of the same year. While the initial design was done by Korolev's OKB-1, the programme was transferred to Makeev's SKB-385 in August 1955., and was deployed onboard Project 611 and Project 629 (Golf Class) submarines, until its replacement by the R-13 (SS-N-4) and the R-21 (SS-N-5) in 1968. The success of the R-11FM established Makeev as the main designer of submarine-launched weapons for the Soviet military.


The successor to the R-11, the R-17 (SS-1C Scud-B), renamed R-300 in the 1970s, was the most prolific of the series, with a production run estimated at 7,000. It served in 32 countries and four countries besides the Soviet Union manufactured copied versions.). A nuclear warhead was designed for the R-17, with a selectable yield, from 5 to 70 kilotons. Another payload was a chemical warhead, containing 555 kg of viscous VX. Unlike the R-11, the Scud-B could also be used as a conventional weapon, with a single high explosive warhead, or, according to Russian sources, with a series of fragmentation payloads, using either high explosive, anti-tank or anti-runway munitions. The new MAZ-543 vehicle was officially designated 9P117 Uragan, and its Russian crews nicknamed it Kashalot (sperm whale), because of its size. The eight-wheeled MAZ-543 has a loaded weight of 37,400 kg, a road speed of 55 km/h and a range of 650 km. It can carry out the launch sequence autonomously, but this is usually directed from a separate command vehicle. The missile is raised to a vertical position by means of hydraulically-powered cranes, which usually takes four minutes, while the total sequence lasts about one hour.


The R-17 VTO (SS-1e Scud-D) project was an attempt to enhance the accuracy of the R-17. The Central Scientific Research Institute for Automation and Hydraulics (TsNIAAG) began work on the project in 1968, but the first test launch was conducted only in September 1979. Development continued through the 1980s until the system was accepted into initial service as the 9K720 Aerofon in 1989. However, by this time, more advanced weapons were in use, such as the OTR-21 Tochka(SS-21) and the R-400 Oka(SS-23), and the Scud-D wasn't acquired by the Soviet armed forces. Instead it was proposed for export as an upgrade for Scud-B users, in the 1990s.
The first missile prototypes were completed in 1984. Christened Hwasong-5, and known in the West as the "Scud Mod. A", they were exact replicas of the R-17Es obtained from Egypt. The first test flights occurred in April of 1984, but the first version saw only limited production, and no operational deployment, as its purpose was only to validate the production process.
Production of the definitive version of the Hwasong-5 ("Scud Mod. B" or "Scud-B") began at a slow rate in 1985. The type incorporated several minor improvements over the original Soviet design. The range was increased by 10 to 15 percent (320km, instead of 280 km with a 1000kg warhead) and the Isayev engine was slightly modified. An array of payloads was developed, including High Explosive(HE), cluster, chemical, and possibly biological warheads. Throughout the production cycle, until it was phased out in favour of the Hwasong-6 in 1989, the DPRK manufacturers are thought to have carried out small enhancements, in particular to the guidance system, but the exact details are unknown.
The Hwasong-6 was exported to Iran where it is known as the Shahab-2, and to Syria, where it is manufactured under license with Chinese assistance. The missile is substantially larger than the Hwasong series, and its Isayev 9D21 engine was upgraded with help from Makeyev OKB. Some assistance came also from China and Ukraine while a new TEL was designed using an Italian Iveco truck chassis and an Austrian crane. The rapidity with which the Rodong was designed and exported after just two tests came as a surprise for many Western observers, and led to some speculation that it was in fact based on a cancelled Soviet project from the Cold War period, but this has not been proven.
Iran is known to have financed much of the Rodong program, and in return is allowed to produce the missile, as the Shahab-3. While the first prototypes may have been acquired as early as 1992, production began only in 2001, with assistance from Russia. The Rodong has also been exported to Egypt, Libya and Pakistan, where it is known as the Ghauri. Libya responded to U.S. airstrikes in 1986 by firing several Scud missiles at a U.S. Coast Guard station on the nearby Italian island of Lampedusa. Scud missiles were used in several regional conflicts that included use by Soviet and Afghan Communist forces in Afghanistan, and Iranians and Iraqis against one another in the so-called "War of the cities" during the Iran-Iraq War. Scuds were also used by Iraq during the Persian Gulf War against Israel and coalition targets in Saudi Arabia.
All "Scud" versions are derived from the German V-2 rocket, as were most early American missiles and rockets. They are highly inaccurate due to their construction. In this respect, Scud can be considered an area bombing weapon. The Iraqi modifications increased range, at the cost of accuracy.
More than a dozen Scuds were fired from Afghanistan at targets in Pakistan in 1988. 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 and onwards.

Iran-Iraq war

Iraq was the first to use ballistic missiles during the Iran-Iraq war, firing limited numbers of Frog-7 rockets at the towns of Dezful and Ahvaz. On 27 October 1982, Iraq launched its first Scud-Bs at Dezful killing 21 civilians and wounding 100. On December 19, Dezful was struck again by two Scuds that killed or injured 349 inhabitants. Scud strikes continued during the following years, intensifying sharply in 1985, with more than 100 missiles falling inside Iran.
Desperate to respond in kind, the Iranians searched for a source of ballistic weapons, finally meeting success in 1985, when they obtained a small number of Scud-Bs from Libya. These weapons were assigned to a special unit, the Khatam Al-Anbya force, attached to the Pasdaran. On March 12, the first Iranian Scuds fell in Baghdad and Kirkuk. The strikes infuriated Saddam Hussein, but the Iraqi response was limited by the range of their Scuds, that couldn't reach Tehran. After a request for TR-1 Temp(SS-12 Scaleboard) missiles was refused by the Soviets, Iraq turned to developing its own long-range version of the Scud missile, that became known as the Al-Hussein. In the meantime, both sides quickly ran out of missiles, and had to contact their international partners for resupply. In 1986, Iraq ordered 300 Scud-Bs from the USSR, while Iran turned to North Korea for missile deliveries, and for assistance in developing an indigenous missile industry.
In 1988, the fighting along the border had reached a stalemate, and both belligerents began employing terror tactics, in order to break the deadlock. Lasting from 29 February to 20 April, this conflict became known as the war of the cities, and saw an intensive use of Scud missiles. The first rounds were fired by Iraq, when seven Al-Husseins landed in Tehran on February 29. In all, Iraq fired 189 missiles, mostly of the Al-Hussein type, of which 135 landed in Tehran, 23 in Qom, 22 in Isfahan, four in Tabriz, three in Shiraz and two in Karaj. The Iranian response included launching 75 to 77 Hwasong-5s, a North Korean Scud variant, at targets in Iraq, mostly in Baghdad.

Civil war in Afghanistan

The most intensive -and less well-known- use of Scud missiles occurred during the civil war in Afghanistan between 1989 and 1992. As a compensation for the withdrawal of Soviet troops in 1989, the USSR agreed to deliver sophisticated weapons to the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan(DRA), the communist regime of Afghanistan, among which were large quantities of Scud-Bs, and possibly some Scud-Cs as well. During the mujahideen attack against Jalalabad, between March and June 1989, three firing batteries manned by Soviet crews fired some 438 missiles in defense of the embattled garrison. Soon all the heavily contested areas of Afghanistan, such as the Salang Pass and the city of Kandahar, were under attack by Scud missiles.
Due to its imprecision, the Scud was used as an area bombing weapon, and its effect was psychological as well as physical: the only warning the mujahideen got of an incoming rocket was the sonic boom it produced. At the time, reports indicated that Scud attacks had devastating consequences on the morale of the Afghan rebels, who eventually learned that by applying guerilla tactics, and keeping their forces dispersed and hidden, they could minimize casualties from Scud attacks. After January 1992, the Soviet advisors were withdrawn, reducing the Afghan army's ability to use their ballistic missiles. On April 24, 1992, the mujahideen forces of Ahmad Shah Massoud captured the main Scud stockpile at Afshur. As the communist government collapsed, the few remaining Scuds and their TELs were divided among the rival factions fighting for power. However, the lack of trained personnel prevented a sustained use of such weapons, and, between April 1992 and 1996, only 44 Scuds were fired in Afghanistan. When the Taliban arrived in power in 1996, they captured a few of the remaining Scuds, but lack of maintenance had reduced the state of the missile force to such an extent that there were only five Scud firings, until 2001. Following the U.S. intervention in Afghanistan, the few surviving Scud launchers were destroyed in 2005.

Gulf war

Scud attacks

At the outbreak of the Gulf war, Iraq had an effective, if limited ballistic missile force. Besides the original Scud-B, several local variants had been developed. These included the Al-Hussein, developed during the Iran-Iraq war, the Al-Hijarah, a shortened Al-Hussein, and the Al-Abbas, an extended-range Scud fired from fixed launching sites, that was never used. The Soviet-built MAZ-543 vehicle was the prime launcher, along with a few locally-designed TELs, the Al Nida and the Al Waleed.
The first attacks occurred on January 18, 1991, and continued until February 23. In all, 46 missiles were fired at Saudi Arabia and 40 at Israel.
By firing missiles at Israel, Saddam Hussein hoped to provoke a retaliation from the Jewish state that would antagonize the Arab members of the U.S.-led coalition. To pacify the Israelis and prevent a split within their alliance, the United States sent two batteries of Patriot missiles to Israel and devoted important resources to neutralizing the Iraqi missiles and their launchers. Patriots were also deployed in Saudi Arabia, defending cities and coalition bases. Initially, Raytheon and the U.S. government claimed a very high success rate, with president Bush declaring that, out of 42 Scuds engaged, 41 had been intercepted. However these figures were later amended, with the U.S Army stating that the Patriot systems had detected 88 Scuds, engaged 53, of which 27 had been successfully engaged. A successful intercept was judged to have occurred when the Scud warhead had been destroyed, or when the missile had been blown off target. These figures did not appease critics, such as Professor Theodore Postol, who instead suggested that the rate of Patriot intercepts was lower than 10 percent, based on video evidence. Much of the Patriots difficulties stemmed from the fact that it was designed as an anti-aircraft weapon, with software modifications giving it an anti-missile capability in the mid-1980s. Its purpose was not to impact its target directly, but to approach close enough to spray it with shrapnel, which was not always sufficient to neutralize incoming Scuds. Also, the modified Iraqi Al-Hussein had a tendency to break up as it re-entered the atmosphere, creating large streams of debris. The Patriot had difficulty distinguishing between the largest pieces, that tended to be the fuselage, warhead and engine compartment.
In the end the Scuds were responsible for most of the coalition deaths outside of Iraq and Kuwait. They killed one Israeli directly and one Saudi security guard. Twenty-eight U.S. soldiers were killed when one struck a United States Army barracks in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia.

Scud hunting

Despite the limited damage inflicted by Iraqi missile, the coalition committed important air assets and special forces units to eliminate the Scuds and their launchers, essentially to persuade Israel that it did not need to intervene in the conflict.
The USAF organized CAPs over areas where Scud launchers were suspected to operate, namely western Iraq near the Jordanian border, where the Scuds were fired at Israel, and southern Iraq, where they were aimed at Saudi Arabia. A-10 strike aircraft flew over these zones during the day, and F-15Es fitted with LANTIRN pods and synthetic aperture radars patrolled at night. However, the infrared and radar signatures of the Iraqi TELSs were almost impossible to distinguish from ordinary trucks and from the surrounding electromagnetic clutter. While patrolling strike aircraft managed to sight their targets on 42 occasion, they were only able to acquire them three times long enough to release their ordnance. In addition, the Iraqi missile units dispersed their Scud TELs and hid them in culverts, wadis, or under highway bridges. They also practiced "shoot-and-scoot" tactics, withdrawing the launcher to a hidden location immediately after it had fired, while the launch sequence that usually took 90 minutes, was reduced to half an hour. This enabled them to preserve their forces, despite optimistic claims by the coalition. A post-war Pentagon study concluded that relatively few launchers had been destroyed by coalition aircraft.
Ground based special forces from the United States and the United Kingdom were sent to scout for launchers behind enemy lines, in some cases attacking them directly with MILAN man-portable missiles. A patrol that used the callsign Bravo Two Zero, led by "Andy McNab"(a pseudonym) was captured by the Iraqis.
The mobility of Scud TELs allowed for a choice of firing position and increased 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. After the war, UNSCOM investigations showed that Iraq still had 12 MAZ-543 vehicles, as well as seven Al-Waleed and Al-Nidal launchers, and 62 complete Al-Hussein missiles.


The current and former operators of Scuds or Scud derivatives are:


  • Scud Ballistic Missile Launch Systems 1955-2005
  • Afghanistan-the bear trap


See also

scud in Arabic: سكود
scud in Bulgarian: Скъд
scud in Czech: Scud
scud in Danish: Scud
scud in German: Scud
scud in Spanish: Misil Scud
scud in French: Scud
scud in Korean: 스커드 미사일
scud in Italian: SS-1 Scud
scud in Hebrew: סקאד
scud in Malay (macrolanguage): Peluru berpandu Scud
scud in Dutch: Scud
scud in Japanese: スカッド
scud in Norwegian: Scud
scud in Polish: Scud
scud in Portuguese: Scud
scud in Russian: Р-11
scud in Slovak: Scud
scud in Finnish: Scud (ohjus)
scud in Swedish: Scud
scud in Vietnamese: Scud
scud in Turkish: Scud füzesi
scud in Chinese: 飛毛腿飛彈

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Cloudcuckooland, alto-cumulus, alto-stratus, anvil cloud, banner cloud, billowy cloud, blast, blow, bolt, brash, breakers, burst, burst of rain, burst of speed, canter, cap cloud, career, cirro-cumulus, cirro-fillum, cirro-nebula, cirro-stratus, cirro-velum, cirrus, cirrus cloud, cirrus haze, cirrus stripe, cloud, cloud band, cloud bank, cloud drift, cloud mass, cloud street, cloudburst, cloudland, cloudling, cloudscape, cocktail, collar, cottony cloud, cumulo-cirro-stratus, cumulo-cirrus, cumulo-nimbus, cumulo-stratus, cumulus, cumulus cloud, curl cloud, dart, dash, dead run, deluge, dogtrot, downfall, downflow, downpour, drencher, drift, flank speed, flat-out speed, flaw, fleecy cloud, fling, float, flood, flurry, fly, foam, foot, forced draft, fractocumulus, froth, full gallop, gallop, ghost, glide, gushing rain, gust, hand gallop, haste, hasten, head, headlong rush, heavy rain, heavy right foot, hie, high fog, high lope, hump, hump it, hurry, hurtle, jog trot, lather, lope, mackerel sky, make haste, mammatocumulus, maximum speed, meringue, mousse, mushroom cloud, nimbus, nimbus cloud, offscum, open throttle, plash, plow the deep, plunge, post, pour, puff, race, rain cloud, rainburst, rainspout, rainstorm, ride, ride the sea, run, rush, sail, scamper, scoot, scour, scramble, scum, scurry, scuttle, sea foam, shoot, skedaddle, skim, slip, snail cloud, soaker, soaking rain, soapsuds, souffle, spate, speed, spindrift, spoondrift, spout, spray, sprint, spume, spurt, squall cloud, step on it, stinging, storm cloud, strato-cumulus, stratus, stratus cloud, suds, surf, tear, thundercloud, thunderhead, torrent of rain, trot, walk the waters, water carrier, waterspout, white water, wide-open speed, wind gust, woolpack
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