Report: Saudi missile base may be targeting Israel, Iran

IHS Jane's Intelligence Review reveals new base near Al-Watah; launch pad appears to be aligned on bearings at Israel, Iran.

July 11, 2013 10:56
1 minute read.
Satellite imagery taken on 21 March 2013 shows the previously undisclosed Al-Watah.

Saudi ballistic missile site revealed. (photo credit: IHS Jane's Intelligence Review/DigitalGlobe )

Saudi Arabia may be targeting Israel and Iran with long-range missiles, a prominent monthly journal on military intelligence revealed on Tuesday.

Robert Munks, deputy editor of IHS Jane’s Intelligence Review, said the report’s findings have “a low chance for error as we employ in-house satellite analysts,” with one having “many years of experience viewing satellite imagery for the US military.”

The journal’s analysts examined a number of satellite images of a base built within the last five years approximately 200 kilometers southwest of Riyadh, and compared them to photos of similar sites in China since “the missiles likely to be used are Chinese” and the complex had a similar layout.

They found that one of the Saudi launch pads “appears to be aligned on a bearing of approximately 301 degrees and suggesting a potential Israeli target, and the other is oriented along an azimuth (bearing) of approximately 10 degrees, ostensibly situated to target Iranian locations.”

According to the report, the launch pads were designed for Saudi Arabia’s arsenal of DF-3 missiles, which Riyadh reportedly acquired from Beijing in the 1980s. The missiles, which are launched from trucks, have a range of 1,500-2,500 miles (2,400-4,000 km.) and can each carry a two-ton payload.

Munks said the photo released to the public is one of many magnified images that are only available to the company’s customers.

He cautioned against sensationalizing the report, stating that the journal does not have any images of missiles or launchers at the site.

“What you see is what you get,” he said, adding that the operational status of the site is uncertain, but that it is at least partially operational because there is a recreational area as well, meaning that people are based at the site.

Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report.

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