Skip to comments.Saudi Arabia's Secret Missile City in the Middle of the Desert
Posted on 04/09/2002 7:30:37 PM PDT by Bad~Rodeo
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In March 1988, two years after the deal was struck, it was discovered that Saudi Arabia had bought an undisclosed number of CSS-2 "East Wind" intermediate range missiles from China. (1) The number was later put at 50 missiles and nine launchers. (2) According to Assistant Secretary of State Richard Clarke, the missiles were still not operational in late 1989. (3) However, in early June 1990, Flight International reported that, according to Israeli intelligence, the CSS-2 missiles were deployed and operational at two sites: al-Sulaiyil, about 500 km south of Riyadh and al-Joffer, 100 km south of Riyadh. According to the article, each site houses four to six concrete launch pads and stores approximately 60 missiles. (4)
The East Wind's modified range/payload (5) of 2,500 km/2,000 kg (conventional load) brings many countries within striking range, including Israel, the former Soviet Union, and Iran, though the missiles are said to be targeted on Tehran and other Iranian population centers, rather than Israel.The 2.5 km CEP of the CSS-2 missiles, combined with the cost of the purchase (6) has led to a great deal of speculation about Saudi Arabia's intentions. The missiles are far too inaccurate to be used against any point target with either HE or chemical warheads. King Fahd has pledged that Saudi Arabia will not arm the missiles with unconventional warheads nor use them in a first-strike mode. (7) According to a study by the Congressional Research Service, the Reagan administration received an assurance in writing that the Saudis would not obtain or use chemical or nuclear warheads with the CSS-2 missiles. (8) To further allay such fears, Saudi Arabia signed the NPT in April 1988. To date (August 1996), no ballistic missiles other than the CSS-2 are reported to be operational or under development in Saudi Arabia.
None of the CSS-2s was fired during Desert Storm. In an interview with The Washington Times, Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan, acknowledging the inaccuracy of the CSS-2 and its consequent potential for killing civilians, said, "King Fahd ruled out that option [launching the missiles against Iraq] because of the fact that you cannot conrol it [the missiles] accurately. Our problem is that our war was not with the Iraqi people; it was with Saddam Hussein and his clique." (9) However, the multi-billion dollar King Khalid Military City is reported to include nuclear missile silos and nuclear-proofed underground command bunkers with full arming and firing capabilities. (10)
1. According to the Los Angeles Times, the sale was made in July 1985 (Jim Mann, "U.S. caught napping by Sino-Soviet missile deal," Los Angeles Times, 4 May 88, p. 1, 8).
2. The Los Angeles Times reported (ibid., p. 8) that Saudi Arabia had purchased between 20 and 25 CSS-2 missiles, of which China is thought to have produced no more than 100. Two days later The Washington Times claimed, "The most recent shipment of about 25 CSS-2s arrived last month, complementing the first shipment of about 25 sent from China last fall." (Bill Gertz, "State, Pentagon worry about Saudi missiles," The Washington Times, 12 May 88, p. A3) These figures differ substanially from the later claim, discussed below, that the Saudis had deployed four to six launchers and 60 missiles at each of two sites.
China maintains a small missile force suitable for attacking regional targets. The Css-2 intermediate range ballistic missile (IRBM) first became operational in 1971, has a range of about 3,000 kilometers (1.5 lines omitted) It is liquid-fueled and road-transportable."
The first stage of the TD-2 is said to bear a close resemblance to the Chinese CSS-2's and CSS-3's first stage, but is slightly smaller. Other reports suggest that the first stage of the Taep'o-dong-2 is almost identical to the Chinese CSS-2.
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I remember Reagan and the AWACs sale, was aware of the Saudi arms buildup, but never knew jack-squat about their missile program.
During the reporting period, Chinese entities provided Pakistan with missile-related technical assistance. Pakistan has been moving toward domestic serial production of solid-propellant SRBMs with Chinese help. Pakistan also needs continued Chinese assistance to support development of the two-stage Shaheen-II MRBM. In addition, firms in China have provided dual-use missile-related items, raw materials, and/or assistance to several other countries of proliferation concernsuch as Iran, North Korea, and Libya.
In the nuclear area, China has made bilateral pledges to the United States that go beyond its 1992 NPT commitment not to assist any country in the acquisition or development of nuclear weapons. For example, in May 1996 Beijing pledged that it would not provide assistance to unsafeguarded nuclear facilities.
With respect to Pakistan, Chinese entities in the past provided extensive support to unsafeguarded as well as safeguarded nuclear facilities, which enhanced substantially Pakistans nuclear weapons capability. We cannot rule out some continued contacts between Chinese entities and entities associated with Pakistans nuclear weapons program subsequent to Beijings 1996 pledge and during this reporting period.
I agree with you. The Saudis have grand delusions, and are likely to act upon them
OTOH, a few years back I worked at the US defense contractor which set up the Saudi air defense system, and got a good look at the "perfumed princes" that the Saudis have in their officer corps. I'm happiest at the thought that they would be on the OTHER side...
King Khalid Military City, built in the 80s, was US Designed, Supervised by the Corps of Engineers, etc. Hardly a secret.
Most air bases and radar sites were also US designed and built.
Squadrons and Squadrons of Saudi piloted planes threaten only sand dunes and anything in the glide path.
Because royals get first crack at being pilots, they have the largest cadre of totally untrainable pilots.These guys are in it for the uniform and rank. They refuse to be stationed anywhere other than the three large cities.
If they got Chinese missles, then they had to get the Chinese technicians and rocketeers because they could never launch with total Saudi control.
The whole article sounds like somebody couldn't get their shortwave working tonight and posted the script here instead.
Ever since September 11 it has been crystal clear that the Saudis are at the very heart of the Islamic threat. Once again, it seems to me that the only solution is to arrange some sort of coup, go in, and break the country in two.
One part for the oil, the other part for the holy places. The combination of control over the world's oil supply with Islamic fundamentalism is simply too dangerous.
There is too much power, too much fanaticism, too much economic control all concentrated in one place. A billion muslims, fanatical clerics, treacherous sheikhs, and oceans of money, all concentrated around Mecca. This cancer just can't be allowed to grow any further. I don't advocate that Bush should rush into anything. This situation is too dangerous for us to act with anything but extreme caution and careful preparation. But Saudi Arabia should be at the very center of Bush's long-range planning. If not, we will all pay a heavy price.
Watching it all unfold, I'm always wondering what info below our civilian radar is changing the equation. This missle story is plausible, and significant, if true...enough so that we've most likely already drawn a bead on their Star City, and Israel has also.
I'm thinking a premptive move, we checkmate the Axis of Evil in about 6 hours' time.
It also explains why the Saudi's have been handled with "kid gloves" in recent years.
For the war between the Wahabbi and the Shi'a?
Because royals get first crack at being pilots, they have the largest cadre of totally untrainable pilots.
I'm trying hard to regret the waste of beautiful aircraft, but am somehow LMAO.
After all, their checks did clear.
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