Encyclopedia Astronautica
Shahab 4


Iranian missile said to be derived from Soviet-era R-12 intermediate range ballistic missile and having a 1400 kg payload. Was to have been the basis for an Iranian space launcher, then abandoned in 2003 in favor of development of the Shahab 3 for the role.

It was reported in January 1998 that the R-12 design had been sold to Iran. However at the time of state acceptance of the Shahab 3 in July 2003, Iranian Defense Minister Admiral Ali Shamkhani denied reports that Tehran planned to develop the Shahab-4, and said Iran had increased the accuracy and explosive load of the Shahab-3 instead.

It was earlier claimed by Ali Shamkharni, the Iranian Minister of Defence, that the Iranian Shahab-4 missile would 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 space launch version, according to Israeli sources, would have consisted of two storable propellant liquid propellant stages. The first stage would be based on 1950's-era Russian R-12 IRBM technology. The second stage would 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. This was later proven to be untrue (the contract related to turbines for gas pumping stations, and were unrelated to rocketry). Other Russian contributions were alleged to have 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 was 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.

However at the time of state acceptance of the Shahab 3 in July 2003, Iranian Defense Minister Admiral Ali Shamkhani denied reports that Tehran planned to develop the Shahab-4, and said Iran had increased the accuracy and explosive load of the Shahab-3 instead.

Standard warhead: 1,400 kg (3,000 lb). Maximum range: 2,000 km (1,200 mi). Boost Propulsion: Storable liquid rocket.

AKA: Shehab 4.
Gross mass: 26,900 kg (59,300 lb).
Payload: 1,400 kg (3,000 lb).
Height: 22.81 m (74.82 ft).
Diameter: 1.65 m (5.40 ft).

More... - Chronology...


Associated Countries
  • Iran Iran, following a thirty year effort to acquire foreign technology however possible, launched its first satellite in 2009. More...

See also
  • A4 The V-2, known as the A4 to its developers, was the basis for most of the rocketry that exists in the world today. It was ineffective as a weapon of war, but represented a quantum leap in technology. The A1, A2, A3, and A5 were steps in the development of the missile. Later versions - the A6 through A12 - were planned to take the Third Reich to the planets. More...
  • Shahab Iranian derivatives of North Korean Nodong 1 intermediate range ballistic missile, evolved incrementally with Russian assistance into a longer-range missile and the first stage of an orbital launch vehicle. More...
  • missile Guided self-propelled military weapon (as opposed to rocket, an unguided self-propelled weapon). More...

Bibliography
  • McDowell, Jonathan, Jonathan's Space Home Page (launch records), Harvard University, 1997-present. Web Address when accessed: here.

Shahab 4 Chronology


1997 February - . LV Family: Shahab. Launch Vehicle: Shahab 4.
  • Russo-Iranian technical assistance in rocketry - . Nation: Iran. Israel provided US intelligence agencies with a copy of a $7 million contract between NPO Trud and Iran for equipment related to the R-12 IRBM. 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.

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