This page no longer updated from 31 October 2001. Latest version can be found at Shahab 4

Family: Missile. Other Designations: Shehab 4.

It has been claimed by Ali Shamkharni, the Iranian Minister of Defence, that the Iranian Shahab-4 missile will be used as a satellite launcher. Demonstrating missile prowess by orbiting a satellite has been a traditional method for states to announce their entry into the nuclear-capable club.

The Shahab 4, according to Israeli sources, will consist of two storable propellant liquid propellant stages. The first stage will be based on 1950's-era Russian R-12 IRBM technology. The second stage will be based on R-17 (Scud) technology acquired by Iran via North Korea. Such a launch vehicle would require a small solid rocket motor kick stage to orbit a minimum (under 100 kg) satellite.

In February 1997 Israel provided US intelligence agencies with a copy of a $7 million contract between NPO Trud and the Iran for equipment related to the R-12. Other Russian contributions included wind tunnel, software, and mathematical modelling services from TsAGI, Polyus for laser gyro systems, and development of a solid-fuel capability. Chinese Great Wall Industries is providing Iran with telemetry equipment.

In August 1998, Iranian television showed what appeared to be a mock-up of a clam-shell nosecone with a small satellite inside and a model of a space launch vehicle with a bulbous payload section, apparently based upon the Shahab 3 joint North Korean/Iranian IRBM.

As of January 2000, the Shahab-4, if still an active project, had not entered flight test stage.


LEO Payload: 50 kg. to: 200 km Orbit. at: 107.0 degrees. Liftoff Thrust: 64,000 kgf. Total Mass: 40,000 kg. Core Diameter: 1.6 m. Total Length: 27.0 m.

Shahab 4 Chronology

- 1997 February -
- 1998 August -


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Last update 12 March 2001.
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© Mark Wade, 2001 .