Quds-1 Cruise Missile
The Martyr Saleh al-Samad Exhibition for Yemeni Military Industries provided us with the first ever look at the Quds-1 cruise missile, which was used by the Houthis in at least two successful attacks.
Previously it was believed that the missile was derivative from the Iranian Soumar cruise missile, a copy of the Soviet Kh-55 cruise missile. However, the new photos reveal that the Houthis’ missile has very unique characteristics, like the top-mounted turbojet engine and the static wings.
The missile’s engine appears to be identical to the TJ-100. The turbojet engine, that’s is produced by Czech’s PBS Velká Bíteš, is not used in any known missile. The Saudi-led coalition had showcased some the engine’s remains.
The Houthis have not revealed any of the missile’s specs, so far. However, it is believed to has a range of more than 150km. As for guidance, the missile likely relays on an Inertial navigation system (INS) aided by a satellite navigation system such as GPS or GLONASS.
Furthermore, the missile could be equipped with some sort of terrain contour matching (TERCOM) system. This would allow the missile to fly on low altitude and remain undetected by the enemy’s radars.
The Quds-1 cruise missile hit the arrival terminal in Abha International Airport on June 12 with high-accuracy. The missiles was also used in the June 19 attack on the al-Shuqaiq Water Desalination and Power Plant in southwestern Saudi Arabia.
President of the Supreme Political Council Mahdi al-Mashat on Sunday opened a military exhibition of the Martyr president Saleh al-Sammad in the capital Sanaa.
The exhibition displayed new models of ballistic and winged missiles, and new drones made in Yemen.
The new Yemeni weapons called Winged Ballistic Missile Quds-1, Sammad-3 Drone, Qasif 2k Drone and Sammad-1 Reconnaissance Drone.
Minister of Defense Mohammed Nasser al-Atifi briefed the president and visiting officials — including parliament speaker Yahya al-Raiee, prime minister Abdulaziz Bin Habtoor and head of the higher revolutionary committee Mohammed Ali al-Houthi — about the new military technology.
“The new deterrent weapons will enhance the Yemeni military capabilities and will change the course of battle against the countries of the aggression,” al-Atifi said.
President al-Mashat praised the new development in the Yemeni military industry and urged the military officials to keep up the move.
The story of the Quds 1 begins in mid-June 2019, when a cruise missile fired by the Houthis hit the terminal of Abha Airport in Southern Saudi Arabia, wounding a total of 26 passengers. Not long afterwards, Saudi Arabia held a press conference showing images of the missile’s wreckage and claiming that the missile in question was an Iranian Ya Ali cruise missile. The Ya Ali is a much smaller missile than the Soumar and while the newest version of the Soumar has a range of up to 1350km, the Ya Ali’s range is limited to about 700km. With Abha airport being located only 110km from the Yemeni border, using a smaller, shorter-range system seemed to make sense. However, there was an inconsistency. The rounded wings and stabilizers shown in the Saudi presentation did not match the Ya Ali. Instead they were more reminiscent of the Soumar.
Only a few weeks later, in early July, the Houthis opened a large static display of their ballistic missile and drone arsenal. One of the surprises unveiled at the show was a cruise missile named Quds 1 (Jerusalem 1) which the Houthis claimed to have indigenously developed.
Noting the overall similarity in design with the Soumar, many observers claimed Iran had simply smuggled it to Yemen where the Houthis gave it a new paint job and a new name, as they had done before with the Qiam. Well, it turns out cruise missiles are a lot like wines or pictures of Joe Biden. At first they all appear to be the same but once you spend enough time on them, you realize there are quite a few differences. Differences between the Quds 1 and the Soumar include the entire booster design, the wing position, the Quds 1’s fixed wings, the shape of the nose cone, the shape of the aft fuselage, the position of the stabilizers and the shape of the engine cover and exhaust.
The differences in the shape of the aft fuselage and the position of the stabilizers make it clear that the wreckage in the desert is much more likely to be a Quds 1 than a Soumar.
There is yet another apparent difference between the Quds 1 and the Soumar/Hoveyzeh: size. A quick measurement using MK1 Eyeball reveals that the Quds 1 seems to be smaller in diameter than the Soumar.
But while MK1 Eyeball works fine, measuring is always a little more objective. So let’s go back to the Saudi presentation for a second. When describing the remnants of the alleged Ya Ali that hit Abha airport, the Saudis mentioned that among the wreckage they found a jet engine named TJ-100.
A quick search reveals that there indeed is a small turbojet engine called TJ100. The engine is produced by the Czech company PBS Aerospace which describes it as being especially suitable for applications in UAVs, one of its uses being the Spanish/Brazilian Diana target drone. Oh yeah, and you can also totally use it to convert your glider into a jet, which is pretty cool.
When comparing the engine seen on the Quds 1 and the TJ100 it seems pretty clear that whatever powers the Quds 1 is either a TJ100 or pretty much an exact copy of it. An engine displayed at an Iranian drone exhibition again shows stunning similarities with the TJ100, implying that Iran is producing a copy of the Czech engine for use in some of its drones.
Knowing the dimensions of the TJ100, one can precisely measure the diameter of the Quds 1. With 34cm it is significantly smaller than the Soumar, which retains the original KH-55’s diameter of 51,4cm.
However, the Qud 1’s use of a TJ100 is interesting for more reasons than just measurements. First, the fact that the Quds 1 uses the same engine type that was found in Abha makes it highly likely that the missile that hit Abha’s terminal was a Quds-1 simply mislabeled by Saudi Arabia. The Quds 1’s design also corresponds to the rounded wing and stabilizers found at the scene.