Artist's impression of Quds cruise missile, author.
Iranian (/Houthi) Cruise Missile types
Iran has developed several types of land attack cruise missile. This article acts as a quick reference guide.
Much of Iran’s subsonic missile development has been based on license copies of Chinese anti-ship missiles. For a land attack cruise missile however Iran turned to the black market and acquired some ex-Soviet Kh-55 (AS-15 KENT) air-launched cruise missiles from Ukrainian sources in 2001. These were reverse-engineered into the Soumar ground-launched missile.
The new missile was first revealed by Iran’s Ministry of Defense and Armed Forces Logistics (MODAFL) on March 8 2015. The missile itself is externally almost identical to the Kh-55 except for some very minor differences in the rear stabilizers. It is married to a solid fuel booster with lattice fins, which is discarded after launch. All fins are folding to allow compact container launch, typically from a truck-based TEL (transporter Erector Launcher).
Great source: Uskowi on Iran
The Quds (Aka Quds-1) is outwardly similar to the Kh-55/Soumar but is actually a completely new system. Although the Houthi movement have presented it as an indigenous Yemeni project, it can be considered an Iranian type.
It has a significantly smaller diameter fuselage being ~340mm compared to 514mm for the Kh-55. It also has a weaker Czech commercial TJ100 turbojet from PBS Aerospace (or an Iranian clone of it). This has 292 lb thrust and is likely to result in a relatively slow missile, very probably slower than MACH 0.6. Other external differences included repositioned main wings, no anhedral on the rear fins and a simplified booster. None of the wings or fins are folding.
Like the Kh-55/Soumar it has only three control surfaces at the back, arranged like an aircraft with an all-moving rudder above (‘vertical stabilizer’) and two horizontal stabilizers. The vertical stabilizer is noticeably smaller than the horizontal control surfaces.
A model of a missile closely matching the Quds was displayed in an exhibition of IRGC Imam Hossein University in February 2018, over a year before the Quds appeared in media from Yemen. Credit to Fabian Hinz for making this connection – HERE
Still from Iribnews video uploaded to Youtube on Feb 17 2018 showing a model of missile bearing an uncanny resemblance to the Quds at an Exhibition of IRGC Imam Hossein University. Youtube
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The Tomahawk-like Ya Ali (یا علی) missile design is associated specifically with IRGC. It was revealed in May 2014, nearly a year before the Soumar. It is a completely different design owing more to the US Tomahawk than the Russian Kh-55. It is easily distinguished by square-cut flying surfaces and an internally mounted turbojet engine with scoop-like intake below the body instead of the podded motor of the Soumar and Quds designs. The status of this project is unclear although at least one test launch has been evidenced.
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