Global Insider: Beyond Scuds, Syria’s Missile Arsenal Includes Precise, Modern Weapons

Global Insider: Beyond Scuds, Syria’s Missile Arsenal Includes Precise, Modern Weapons

Syrian government forces have resorted to firing Scud ballistic missiles against rebel forces in recent weeks, according to media reports. In an email interview, Sean O’Connor, a contributor to IHS Jane’s and an expert in air defenses and strategic warfare, discussed Syria’s missile arsenal.

WPR: What is the extent of Syria's current missile arsenal, and what are its capabilities in terms of range and accuracy?

Sean O’Connor: Prior to the beginning of hostilities within its borders, Syria maintained a well-stocked, if technologically limited, missile force. Syria obtained its first Scud-B missiles from the Soviet Union in the mid-1970s. At present, Syria operates the Scud-B, Scud-C and Scud-D, in Soviet and North Korean iterations, and two more-advanced Russian weapons, the SS-21 and SS-26. The various Soviet and North Korean Scud variants in service have ranges of up to 800 kilometers, but possess circular error probables (CEPs, a measure of accuracy) of between 500 and 3,000 meters, making them useless against precision targets. The SS-21 represents a comparatively short-range weapon, useful to ranges of up to 70 km, with a CEP of 150 meters, a significant increase over the older Scuds.

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