The question as to whether or not Iraq actually used chemical weapon-loaded Scud missiles during the 1991 Gulf War is still an open one. Further to this, there still remain outstanding questions about the claims that Iraq possessed illegally-retained Scud Missiles in the period prior to the 2003 Invasion of Iraq. There is no complete record to draw upon and no one organisation has ever been seen to have compiled an exhaustive and comprehensive analysis.
- A review by a former member of the Dhahran Scud Watchers Club
Scud Missile Events - January 17th/27th 1991
Official Statements January 18th to January 27th...
Scudwatch notes: This appendix gives details of press statements given subsequent to events. The title heading dates refer to the dates of the statements, rather than the dates of events themselves. These events sometimes appear to be discussed before the title date, rather than after, due to the fact that statements were made in the USA, as well as in the Kuwait theatre of operations, and time-zone differences exist. (This can be seen as slightly confusing in places.)
For clarity, SCUDWATCH has added a number next to each day listed here, relating to the published/analysed number of Scuds fired on the specific date as suggested by this account.
Highlighting, comments, notes, Scud count (X Scuds), and times (00:00) are added by SCUDWATCH.
From: Assessment of Patriot Antitactical Missile Effectiveness in the War Against Iraq By Steven A. Hildreth, Specialist in National Defense Foreign Affairs and National Defense Division Congressional Research Service. As prepared for the House Government Operations Subcommittee on Legislation and National Security, April 7, 1992.
APPENDIX 2: OFFICIAL STATEMENTS ON PERFORMANCE OF PATRIOT ATM DURING
This appendix includes a compilation of official, military, and Administration statements regarding the performance of the Patriot system against Iraqi Scud missile attacks made during and after the war. Some sections are highlighted for particular attention.
JANUARY 18, 1991 (8 Scuds - seven at Israel and one at Dhahran at 03:30 or 04:28)
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia: At a U.S. CENTCOM (Central Command) Briefing, Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf said: "Of course the significant news today, I'm sure you all know about, but there were seven Scuds fired early this morning against Israel, and there was one Scud missile fired against Dhahran.
The one Scud missile that was fired against Dhahran was destroyed by a United States Army Patriot missile. Fortunately, the seven missiles that were fired against Israel I would characterize as having yielded absolutely insignificant results. As a result, I think to date we can say that the enemy Scud campaign has been ineffective."(24)
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia: In a CNN interview, the Saudi Ambassador to the UN asked about an Iraqi Scud attack against the air base near Dhahran. Amb. Shibabi said "there in nothing more that I have at this time more than we heard on CNN.... the rocket was hit enroute and that no damage has taken."(25)
The Pentagon: At a Pentagon briefing, the following question was asked: as long as any of those Scud missiles are still around, that we can't really protect Israel.... what about the Patriots that we sent to Israel?" Gen. Thomas Kelly answered: "....If you want to know what Israel's capability is to counter the missiles when they get there, you're going to have to ask Israel."(26)
JANUARY 19, 1991 (3 Scuds at Israel)
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia: At the U.S. CENTCOM briefing, Gen. Robert Johnston said: "Today there have been three reported launches of Iraqi surface-to-surface missiles, and all three of these missiles were launched towards Israel. Reports indicate at this time that one landed within Israel, and two others are unaccounted for. This brings the total for the last two days to 11 surface-to-surface missiles fired by the Iraqis. I might make a comment here, that today at 3:57 there were two Patriot missiles fired unintentionally from a location inside Saudi Arabia. The missile firing resulted in no personal injuries or damage, and we are now investigating the cause of those launchings." Several questions were also asked and answered:
Q: "Can you tell me how it's possible you unintentionally fired Patriot missiles, and were they the ones seen here from Riyadh?
A: Until we've investigated, I think it's rather difficult for me to predict and to speculate, quite frankly, on how they were launched.
Q: Were they the ones from here that were seen?
A: It is my understanding that those are the ones that were seen on your video screens, yes.
Q: Can you just confirm that they were either by self destroyed [sic] in the air, or what did happen to them?
A: They were destroyed."(27)
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia: The Saudi Press Agency reported: "An official military source in the Saudi Jt. Command and Operation Theatre said two Patriot missiles were mistakenly fired due to a technical error at 17:30 pm. The two missiles exploded in the air without causing any damages, the source said."(28)
JANUARY 20, 1991 (3 Scuds at Saudi Arabia)
Note: Confusion starts here !
This statement could not have been made on January 20th without 24 hour time-travel !!!
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia: At the CENTCOM Briefing, LTC Mike Gallagher said: "The U.S. Central Command is in the process of evaluating information of on the two salvos of Scud missiles launched by Iraq in Saudi Arabia in the past 24 hours. We now believe ten missiles were launched and U.S. Patriot air defense systems shot down nine of them. Iraq fired the first launch of the three Scud missiles into eastern Saudi Arabia at about 9:50 p.m. (21:45 20th) Saudi time. They were engaged by five Patriot air defense and were shot down near Dhahran. In the second attack, about 12:45 a.m. (00:44-00:52 21st) this morning, January 21st, Saudi time, Iraq fired seven Scud-missiles -- four at Riyadh, two at Dhahran, and one in the waters off Dhahran. Six of the Scuds were shot down by Patriot missiles. The Scud missile landing in the water did not require engagement. We have no reports of damage or injuries. The number of Patriot missiles fired at the incoming Scuds in the second set of launches is still not available at this time. All the missiles were thought to be carrying high explosive warheads.
There are 10 (3+7) Scuds in this report.
3 at Dhahran 21:45 January 20th.
4 at Riyadh, 3 more at/off Dhahran 00:44-00:50 January 21st.
Several questions were asked:
Q: "Could you say whether the one which landed in the water actually landed through the help of... perhaps?
A: What I understand is it was just in the waters off Dhahran. Because of its trajectory, was the reason it didn't require engagement.
Q: The loud explosion heard in Bahrain, Mike, could that have been the one?
A: I can't say for sure.
Q: Are there any reports of errant Patriot missiles landing in the city here?
A: No, we've not received any such reports, and we've not received any kind of damage reports either.
Q: A number of us saw what appeared to be a missile landing in the south eastern horizon, as viewed from the hotel, landing with a flash on the horizon. I know you may not want to speculate, but would you guess that this could have been either an errant Patriot, or that it could have been a Scud?
A: You're talking about the four in the Riyadh area?
Q: I'm sorry, yes.
A: I can't say what that might have been. But again, just to repeat on those, the ones in the Riyadh area, all four were engaged and destroyed.
Q: Some of us have just seen a crater that looks like it was from a missile or something landing.
A: The question was whether there was a crater. Right now U.S. CENTCOM has not received any such information.
Q: There were some sightings of at least one Patriot that appeared to leave its point and go at a very low altitude horizontally for about a mile and a half, where there in now a large crater and a large building There are a number of Saudi authorities there. Has anyone from CENTCOM gone out to try to get a damage assessment?
A: I don't have any information on this particular instance, but we'll be glad to take that question for you.
Q: We just got back from this crater, where it blew out the back side of a building and left a hole in the ground about 10 feet deep and about 13 - 14 feet wide. There were pieces of missile all over the place a mile and a half down the road.
A: We'll take a look at that, and whatever information I can get on it for you, I'll be glad to.
Q: Can you tell us what the Patriot to supposed to do? Is it supposed to decimate in mid-air if it doesn't meet its target?
A: They do have self-destruct system on them, correct.
Q: So that would be a force if it hit the ground?
Q: Would a Patriot be capable of causing a crater 10 feet deep and 14 feet wide?
A: I can't answer that for sure. I don't know about the size of the crater.
Q: How much explosives are in a Patriot?
A: I'd have to get the information for you.
Q: Are you sure that there are no Patriots that fell down in town?
A: Right now I don't have any indication. However, it sounds like other people may have some different information. We'll go ahead and take a look at that and try to get that for you.
Q: Can you tell us how you're going about these investigations? Are you actually going to the site? Are you reviewing videotapes? Are you interviewing people in the neighborhoods? How are you going about this investigation?
A: We'll use any sources available to us to try to get the right information.
Q: Can I ask how you could have made a mistake in the first place by saying that six Patriot missiles were fired?
A: What we did is we found we had more information, and we wanted to make sure it was right for you.(29)
The Pentagon: At a press briefing, Pete Williams (Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs) said: "My purpose here is specifically to try to give you what details we have about the Scud launches into Saudi Arabia this afternoon. Let me caution you all, as I'm sure we'll be doing throughout this operation, that these are preliminary reports. I've hesitated coming down here before now because we wanted to make certain that we had a fairly high degree of confidence in what I'm about to say here. I do want to caution you, appeal to you to note that these are preliminary reports. We continue to go back through this and reassess the event and try to get a better idea of what happened. So again, I want to stress that these are preliminary reports.
Our best information now is that there were two launches (21:45 only?) of Iraqi Scud missiles toward Saudi Arabia. We believe they were launched from southern Iraq -- I can't be more specific than that. In response, the U.S. fired five missiles ... at the incoming missiles. They were fired from the U.S. Patriot batteries near Dhahran. Both the Scud missiles were destroyed, they were both intercepted. Of the five Patriots fired, three of them hit the targets -- two of them hit the larger and one of them may have hit debris. We're not certain about that. It may be that by the time the other two of the remaining five got there, there wasn't anything left to hit.
I don't have any idea what type of warhead. We have a team out there right now that's trying to assess that. There is, at this point, no reason to believe that they were anything other than conventional, high explosive warheads.
Again, two confirmed Scud launches from southern Iraq. In response, the U.S. fired five Patriot air defense missiles, and both the incoming Scud missiles were destroyed. Several questions were asked, including:
Q: "Did any of the debris fall over populated areas? Was anyone injured?
A: I have no reports of any injuries or any debris striking anyone.
Q: Can you tell us how close in to Dhahran they were when they were intercepted?
A: No, I don't have that information yet.
Q: There was an air raid warning in Riyadh also. Are there any reports of missiles or any other ordnance fired at Riyadh?
A: We have no report of anything getting to Riyadh. It may well be that the decision was made to sound the warning in Riyadh once the launch was detected heading into Saudi Arabia, but I have no evidence that anything got near Riyadh.
Q: Can you confirm that they were aimed at Dhahran?
A: It's very hard to tell precisely where they were aimed. The point is, they got near Dhahran and we shot them both down.
Q: You say three Patriots hit targets and five were fired. Do you have any information ... Were they destroyed by U.S. Army personnel in mid-air? What happened to those other two missiles?
A: I don't know what happened to them.
Q: What time did this happen?
A: I don't have a precise time. I'm still checking on that.
Q: What can you tell us about this incident? What does it mean?
A: It means that the Patriot is a very effective system. You heard the report earlier in the operation of an incoming target at Dhahran which was shot down by a Patriot. Here's another example. I think it indicates to us that the Patriot in a good system. It also indicates to us that the U.S. crews manning the Patriots are doing an extremely good job.
Q: Do you have any further explanation for the accidental launches of Patriots yesterday?
A: No, that investigation is continuing. I don't think anybody knows the answer yet.(30)
Note: This Pentagon report (correctly) only covers the January 20th 21:45 events.
JANUARY 21, 1991 (7 or 9/10? Scuds)
No CENTCOM briefing today? Or was it the above January 20th report?
Washington, DC: During a CNN interview, Defense Secretary Dick Cheney said: "we've demonstrated, I think, that a Patriot has significant ability to shoot it [a Scud missile] down."(31) Later that morning, Cheney said: "The Scuds have proven to be a relatively ineffective weapon. The Patriot has dealt with them very effectively. It [the Scud] gets a lot of attention because it's there where everybody can see it as they come into Saudi Arabia or Israel." In response to the question, "hindsight is perfect, but since we knew going in that keeping Israel out of the war was a high priority, why did we wait until after a Scud attack to supply them with Patriot missiles and U.S. crews", Cheney answered: "We had arranged last fall to provide them with Patriot missiles. That was a decision the President made some months ago, and then it was a matter of getting the equipment there and getting their personnel trained. But we never before have been in a position where U.S. personnel were on Israeli soil defending Israel. That was a major step, a major decision for the Israeli government to make. Once they made it and accepted our offer, then we moved rather rapidly, within a matter of hours, to provide that capability."(32)
Washington, DC: In an interview with Fox Channel 5, Defense Secretary Dick Cheney said: "The fact is, to date it's had almost no impact from a military standpoint. The Patriots have proven very effective against it. I don't think it's likely to have any significant impact on the outcome of the military conflict."(33)
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia: The Saudi Press Agency reported that a spokesman for the Joint Arab Forces Command said: "...at 10:00 pm (21:45) last night two (3 above?) Iraqi Scud missiles were launched at the direction of the province... the two Iraqi missiles were destroyed in the air before reaching their targets by five Patriot missiles... no casualties took place."(34)
Note: This report only mentions the January 20th 21:45 events and reduces the count to two missiles.
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia: Asked during a press conference whether there had been any injuries from missile debris that might have fallen the previous night, Col. al-Rubayan answered: "There were not any injuries", not even from any broken glass. He also said he didn't know what the white flashes of light were after Patriots had been launched. Answering a question about potential Saudi or American casualties: if Patriots failed, "well, we know this is war and having injuries and death is something expected during war."(35)
The Pentagon: At a briefing, Gen. Kelly said: "During the past 24 hours, 10 Scuds have been fired at Saudi Arabian installations -- nine were shot down by Patriot missiles, and one Scud landed in the water and was not engaged. Just a little over an hour ago another Scud (22:30) was launched from southern Iraq and it landed in the water short of Al-Jubail.
This statement also gives 10 Scuds although 21:45 January 20th is now outside this 24 hour period. (This may be an accurate statement in terms of numbers, but not including the 21:45 events.)
Section D. Scud Incidents in the Riyadh Area gives a best estimate of 4 Scud missiles launched at Riyadh on this occasion. It also states that 26 Patriot missiles were launched in response. (And 30 more on the following night.)
Scudwatch Opinion: Riyadh (00:50) 4 missiles, Dhahran (00:50) 3 missiles,
Others (not seen here) (Dhahran) (01:30/02:15/03:33?) 2/3 missiles?
Note here that at Dhahran (00:50), 2 are shot down and one is in the sea, as is the 22:30 Scud.
The Scud campaign is not having a dramatic effect on the conduct of this operation. As you see, the Patriots are doing a fairly good job in countering it. All he can do is sort of aim those things at a city. They are absolutely not militarily significant, so I think that we can accommodate them.
Q: On the Patriot question, we've been seeing, as you have, the CNN tapes and everything else coming into Riyadh, coming into Dhahran. Is it your impression that those missiles are getting closer, perhaps, than they should? And is there a reason why the Patriots, in theory, could not engage them at longer distances?
A: Kelly: Patriot is a close-in air defense system, so it's engaging those Scuds at the ranges that it is programmed to engage them at. It is a close-in protection system. We don't have a system sitting there that can reach out, and incidentally, the flight time for the Scud is only seven minutes. So from the time we pick it up until the time we can react to it, 7,000 miles from the United States, incidentally, it takes a little time. So I would say the reaction of the Patriots to the Scuds had been fairly spectacular.
Q: A fairly small optimum window, then, to actually shoot with a high degree of assurance on killing them?
A: Kelly: Yes.
Q: Is the Pentagon totally confident now, given that some Scuds appear to have got through the Patriot in Saudi Arabia one perhaps, at least -
A: Well, no more than one.
Q: But they're totally confident now that a further one will not hit Israel?
A: I think I said the other day, there is no such thing as a fool proof defensive system. The way you phrase your question makes it impossible for me to answer it in the affirmative, but clearly the Patriots have proven themselves to be a very effective system, and it gives us one more method to try to deal with the Scud threat against Israel. It's not the only thing we're doing, but it's another one, and obviously, a very highly effective one.
Q: Can you give more details about the one that Kelly mentioned about an hour and a half ago that fell into the water, and whether Patriots were fired at it?
A: My understanding is that no Patriots were fired at it because it wasn't thought that it was going to go anywhere where it would do any damage.
Q: This happened where?
A: It was fired from southern Iraq and I think he said it landed in Gulf waters near al-Jubail.
Q: How many Patriots missiles have been fired?
A: I think there's another case where we're learning as we go. We were fairly forthcoming early on with precisely the numbers that were fired against every incoming launch of Scuds, and we decided that we'll fuzz it up a little bit, so I don't have a number."(36)
JANUARY 22, 1991 (9 Scuds)
Is this dateline wrong too? These events describe both 20th/21st and 21st/22nd ??
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia: At the CENTCOM Briefing, Gen. Burton Moore, USAF said "As you are all well aware, last night (?) Patriot batteries in Riyadh and Dhahran engaged Iraqi Scud missiles aimed at Saudi Arabia. Our reports indicate that the batteries in Dhahran successfully engaged two Scud missiles in that area, while a third Scud impacted in waters of the coast of Saudi Arabia. In Riyadh, our reports indicated that six (?) Scud missiles were fired -- our patriot batteries successfully engaged all six. OSAGWI (2001): 3 Scuds at Riyadh.
During the engagements at Riyadh there was some collateral damage to a building near Riyadh air base; however, we have no reports beyond that, although preliminary reports suggest that it was debris from an intercepted Scud or possibly a Patriot missile that malfunctioned. We'll get more to you as it becomes available. We have no reports of casualties.
Q: Is the total count 12 Scuds fired last night then? It was 10 with 4 in Riyadh.
A: The report we have is there was a total of 10 Scuds fired last night -- six in Riyadh, two in Dhahran, one off the coast, and one several days ago.
If it was several days ago it was not last night !! Confusing. As is the count here. Discounting one "several days ago" leaves 9 Scuds fired. Also this is the second reference to "last night", the January 22nd Scuds impacted at 03:50/07:15. The only individual missile "several days ago" was the first missile of the war towards Saudi Arabia (January 18th 03:30/04:28).
The official score for the night of January 21/22 should be 5 or 6? (3 Dhahran and 3/2? Riyadh).
This is a virtually identical account for night 21/22 as was given for night 20/21. Both had missiles impacting into the sea.
Q: A couple of days (should be three days) ago, two Patriots had been fired unintentionally, as we were told. I know there's a possibility that the damage that happened here because of one of the Patriots. How safe is this operation?
A: I think I would say that the investigation on those two Patriots is ongoing, and I would rather couch it in the context of again, every Scud missile that has been launched at Riyadh or Dhahran (untrue, see above and below.) has been successfully engaged by a Patriot missile.
Q: General, how many Patriot missiles were fired last night?
A: For operational reasons, I will not answer that question."(37) (x30) (batteries running out of Patriots?)
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia: LTC Greg Pepin said: Early this morning, Iraq launched six Scud missiles into Saudi Arabia. Our assessment is that all incoming Scud missiles were either intercepted or destroyed by United States Army Patriot missiles or impacted harmlessly in unpopulated areas. Saudi authorities are investigating to determine possible damage. U.S. CENTCOM has received no reports of injuries to date. All warheads were believed to be conventional, high explosive ammunition.
Q: It appears from both your briefing and the Saudi briefing, that there were at least three (?) Scud missiles that were not intercepted by Patriot missiles, that this Scud was allowed to land. This is a populated neighborhood.
A: Pepin: I can't comment on what the Saudi Arabian official said, but so far the Patriot system has intercepted all incoming Scuds. Those that were programmed not to impact on the non-populated areas were allowed to proceed. You have to remember that when you have an intercept between a Patriot and a Scud you get large pieces of debris that fall and you see that debris.
Q: So the Saudis were mistaken, this was the carcass of a Scud that was intercepted?
A: Pepin: I'm not aware of what the Saudis, what they say.
Q: Are you aware whether or not any of Scud missiles have fallen in population centers outside of the Damman and Dhahran area, and outside of Riyadh, or in areas that are not relatively well populated?
A: Pepin: As I said, all Scuds have been intercepted. Those that have been allowed to impact in unpopulated areas have done so, but none have impacted in populated areas. (38)
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia: The Saudi Press Agency reported that according to an official Interior Department source: "as the result of the destruction of Scud missiles in the air in Riyadh Sunday [Jan. 20] night by Patriot missiles, some splinters fell on a building in Riyadh causing minor injuries for twelve persons... minor damage was caused on the wall of the building and the glass windows."(39)
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia: At the Joint Arab Forces Command Briefing, Col. al-Rubayan stated: "Iraq fired at least two Scuds at Riyadh early this morning. (03:50 22nd) Both were detected. One was intercepted and destroyed by a Patriot missile over Riyadh City. An investigation is underway regarding the other missile and some possible impact of missile or debris from the missile. The debris will be collected as part of the investigation. Also this morning, (07:15 22nd) Iraq fired at least three Scuds toward the eastern province. They were detected by Patriot batteries. One was intercepted and destroyed and two were allowed to crash into unpopulated areas. At 2200 (22:30 21st?) last night, Iraq fired one missile toward the eastern province. It was allowed to crash harmlessly into the ocean. There are no reports of injuries or significant damage resulting from either the Riyadh or eastern province Scud incidents....
Q: A number of us saw a battered Scud missile lying in a Riyadh street. We will not identify where this took place out of -- as per the request of your government. Can you tell us exactly why there was a Scud missile lying in the street? Is that the one that was destroyed? Is that the one that is under investigation ... ?
A: That is the one that is under investigation, it could be part of a Scud missile or a kind of fuel part that falls down during descending. We are not sure of any information yet...
Q: Two nights ago -- the Scuds that were launched at Riyadh -- do you have any further information about the crater that was formed by some explosion? You said you would give us further information?
A: Unfortunately, up until now, I don't have that information. It is either an explosion of the Patriot on its way down or it is an interception point.
Q: Who is doing the investigation? Is all the coalition forces or the Saudi --
A: It is all the coalition forces beside the civil defense -- Saudi civil defense.(40)
The Pentagon: At a briefing, Gen. Kelly was asked:
Q: What about this latest Scud attack on Israel? Apparently one Scud did get through to Tel Aviv despite the arrival of the Patriots. Do you have any preliminary assessment on that? (21:45 22nd x3?)
A: Kelly: That happened within the last couple of hours, and the Israelis are working very hard at it right now. My suggestion would be, at this stage of the game, you would have to go ask them what the specifics are, because we don't know. We're trying to get some information.
Q: Israel has these additional Patriots we sent. The fact that at least one Scud successfully got in, what does that say now about the limitations of the Patriot
A: Kelly: I don't know, because I'd have to know what the facts were that existed at the time the Scud got in. I simply don't know that. If it got in and landed, then it's obvious that the Patriot didn't get it and that will have to be analyzed an we'll have to try to figure out why that occurred.
Q: Have we obtained any information from those Scuds that have fallen into the water? Are we actually trying to get hold of those Scud missiles?
A: Kelly: I'll have to check on that and get back to you. I just don't know the answer.
Q: Can you talk about the success rates for the Patriots? Have there been any misfires? Or could you characterize it as totally effective?
A: As far as I know, there have been some misfires. I know that a couple of days ago we said that two Patriot missiles had apparently accidentally fired. I think the system is working pretty well. I would caution you all that there is no such thing as a fool-proof weapons system. I don't know what the precise percentage figures are or how, indeed, they calculate that for the specific instance of the Patriot system."(41)
JANUARY 23, 1991 (5/6? Scuds)
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia: At the CENTCOM Briefing, LTC Mike Scott said: "First, the issue of the crater that was the result of a recent Scud attack in this vicinity. The analysis of the debris shows both Scud and Patriot remains in the crater. Our analysts indicate the Scud was successfully intercepted, most likely at a low altitude. The combined debris then caused the crater and accompanying structural damage. It should be noted that the damage was minimal compared to what would have occurred had the Scud impacted on its own.
Q: Have you discovered how or why two Patriot were launched from here accidentally several days ago?
A: That incident is still under investigation. The answer to your question is no, we haven't yet.
Q: Then how can you be confident they're 100 percent safe?
A: I'm not aware of any injuries as a result of that inadvertent launching. The Scud missiles have not made it to any target within Saudi Arabia. I think those facts speak for themselves."(42)
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia: During the Joint Arab Forces Command press briefing, Col. al-Rubayan announced: "A joint Saudi and U.S. committee has been formed to investigate all military questions relating to the Scud attacks and the resulting damage. The committee will, for example, look into the sources of debris. The Saudi Civil Defense Office has ongoing investigation as well, and the two groups will cooperate and exchange information as necessary...
Q: Colonel, can you say -- who are the members of this committee that you just mentioned?
A: It is a joint committee from most of the forces that are represented in the coalition.
Q: Who is in charge of it? Who in the senior man on this committee then?
A: I really don't know right now. I can bring you this news later...
Q: Have there been any Scud attacks into Saudi Arabia that have not provoked an alarm? Because I was told yesterday there was one in Dhahran and there were eyewitnesses to it, but no alarm went off.
A: There is not any confirmed Scud attack last night."(43) It was the night before (January 21st).
The Pentagon: At a briefing, JCS Chairman Gen. Colin Powell was asked:
Q: Who fired the Patriot that apparently hit or didn't hit the Scud that did the damage in Tel Aviv yesterday?
A: IDF. (Israeli Defense Force)
Q: Why did they do it instead of the U.S. crews?
A: Either one could have done it, whoever was in position. The U.S. crew was working with a power problem, a generator problem they had at the time, and IDF got acquisition and fired.
Q: Did that Patriot hit the Scud?
A: I really would prefer to defer to the IDF to comment on their actions. I'm just passing on a report I heard."(44)
JANUARY 24, 1991 (0 Scuds)
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia: At a CENTCOM Briefing, LTC Pepin said: "Now let me address last night's Scud activity. Iraq fired six Scuds last night - one towards Israel, five towards Saudi Arabia. (23:00 23rd) All six were intercepted. In total, Iraq has fired approximately 22 Scuds toward Saudi Arabia. Of these, 18 were intercepted and 4 were allowed to impact harmlessly in unpopulated areas.
Q: Could your tell us, out of the 22 Scuds fired, how many have been targeted at Riyadh or the Riyadh area? And as a follow up, can you give us the exact number of Scuds fired last night, which was still undetermined when your 12:15 a.m. press release came out?
A: Last night we had six Scuds fired -- one of which was towards Israel, five towards Saudi Arabia. Two of those were towards Riyadh, two were towards Dhahran, and two towards King Kalid Military Center.
Q: That makes six.
A: Just one towards... Towards where?
A: I'm sorry, I meant one. Confusing again.
Q: Are the Scuds getting any closer to populated areas? For example, I heard a rumor that one of the Scuds that came into Riyadh came within 200 feet of a populated area last night. Are they landing closer? And if so, what is the reason for that?
A: The Patriot system is geared to intercept those missiles that are going to land in populated areas. It's geared in the program to allow those Scuds that will not impact in populated areas to go ahead and harmlessly impact. So far, all those Scuds that have been fired towards us have either been intercepted, or have impacted in unpopulated areas -- so I think that kind of speaks for itself, that none of them have impacted in populated areas.
Q: Is 200 feet considered dangerously close, or is that normal?
A: I can't get into semantics - I can't get into what is a large populated areas compared to a small populated area. So far...
Q: No, 200 feet - I'm talking about distance.
A: I'll let the statistics speak for themselves. So far we have seen no major injuries or deaths or major damage due to Scuds.
Q: Has the investigation into why two Patriots were unintentionally fired a few days ago yielded any results?
A: They're still trying to figure out what happened in that instance -- we still don't have the results yet.
Q: Can you categorically say there have been no serious injuries as a result of incoming Scuds in Saudi Arabia?
A: I can categorically say that there have been no serious injuries due to Scuds in Saudi Arabia, that's correct.
Q: In all these Scud attacks we've had in Saudi Arabia, how many have been taken to the hospital, and how many remain there, if any?
A: I'd have to let you ask the Saudis that. We don't have the information for the civilians.(45)
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia: At the Joint Arab Forces Command press briefing, Col. al-Rubayan stated: "As you probably know, the missiles were fired at Saudi Arabia last night. Targets were Riyadh, the northern region, and the eastern province. The attacks were timed at about 22:57 (23:00) last night. Altogether five Scuds were fired. All were detected, intercepted, and destroyed by Patriot missiles. We have no reports of injuries or significant damage from any of the Scuds knocked from our skies in the last 24 hours.(46)
The Pentagon: At a briefing, ASD Pete Williams said: "The Iraqis have launched five (6 above?) Scuds, confirmed by our sources -- one toward Haifa, which was destroyed by a Patriot; two in the direction of Riyadh, one of which was engaged and destroyed by a Patriot, the other, which did not threaten the area landed in a non-determined desert area – no report of impact; and two in Dhahran which were both destroyed by Patriots. (Poor counting again?)
To date, 22 Scuds have been launched in the direction of Saudi Arabia -- 18 of those have been destroyed by Patriots, and 4 have impacted. There have been 13 total Scuds launched toward Israel, and as of yesterday, you know we engaged the first one with a Patriot, it was destroyed.
Q: There are reports that two Patriot missiles were accidentally launched in Turkey. Is that accurate?
A: Brandtner: I have heard that there has been an unintentional launch of Patriot missiles. It's being investigated. We do not know the circumstances at this time.
Q: You know there were no Scuds?
A: I won't speculate on the cause, but it's being investigated in theater, and the results of that are not known at this time."(47)
JANUARY 25, 1991 (9 Scuds)
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia: At a CENTCOM Briefing, MG Robert B. Johnston said: "Going to air defense operations... Again, you all know as well as I do, there were no Scud attacks last night and the current count is still 35 - 22 were fired against Saudi Arabia and 13 at Israel."(48)
The Pentagon: At a briefing, Gen. Thomas Kelly said, "Up until today... 34 Scuds had been launched against Saudi Arabia and Israel -- 21 against Saudi Arabia, 13 against Israel. Eighteen of them were destroyed by Patriots, nine landed in uninhabited areas or in the sea. Of the remaining seven, to one degree or another they impacted the earth and caused some damage.
Earlier today, about 11:00 (US time) (19:05 Saudi time) our time, an additional seven Scud missiles were launched against Israel. We don't have final information on what their disposition was. Some indications on the TV, as you know, were pretty good. You'll have to get the final answer from Israel. Somewhat after 2:15 (US time) (22:25 local) local this afternoon, two additional Scuds were launched towards Saudi Arabia, and I don't, obviously, have the final reports on them now, although the indications are that we did pretty well. When I say I don't have a final, we have to stand behind the numbers we put out, and I have to wait until I get precise reports in.
A: Are the latest Patriot batteries in Israel all from Europe, and are they all American-manned for the time being?
Q: In addition to the ones that the Israelis have already obtained for themselves, and which their crews are studying how to operate; yes, the U.S.-supplied Patriots are all being manned by U.S. crews, and they're all coming out of Europe.
Q: The videos of the latest Scud attack from Tel Aviv looks as if some Patriot missiles are taking off and impacting. Do you know anything about that? Can you shed any light on that?
A: Whether Patriot missiles hit some of those incoming Scuds?
Q: No, it looks as though Patriots are taking off and then crashing and exploding.
A: I've not seen the videotape. Again, let me tell you why it takes awhile to sort through what happens in these Scud attacks. These are things that happen very, very quickly. The Scud comes over, you've heard people describe how quick the trip is, then you have all these events happening in a very short period of time. You have rapidly incoming missiles, you have Patriots going up to hit them -- a lot of things happening very quickly, and it's almost impossible -- especially with cloudy skies -- for observers just to stand there and know what is what and what fell where. So you go back and look through all the data that's gathered during an event like this, from an many different perspectives as you can and then try to sort out precisely what happened. So it's very, very hard to tell immediately, or within a few hours, even after the event, precisely what happened and what fell where. That takes a long time to sort out. In some cases, you never know for certain what exactly, what piece of what fell where. It's very hard to sort that out."(49)
JANUARY 26, 1991 (4/5/6? Scuds)
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia: At a CENTCOM Briefing, LTC Mike Scott said: "Now let me address last night's Scud activity. Iraq fired nine Scud missiles last night -- six of those were directed toward Israel, three of them were sent into Saudi Arabia. All nine were intercepted. However, the warhead of one of the two Scuds that were sent towards Riyadh was not destroyed. Although the Scud was hit, the Patriot didn't directly hit the warhead, it fell to the ground, and subsequently exploded. One civilian was killed; approximately 23 were injured.
This brings the total number of Scuds fired since hostilities began to 45 -- 25 of those have been sent to Saudi Arabia, and 20 were directed at Israel. (34 or 35+9=45?? Poor counting again?)
Of the 25 sent to Saudi Arabia, 18 of them have been intercepted, and 16 of those interceptions resulted in complete destruction of the Scud. Seven of the Scuds sent towards Saudi Arabia were allowed to impact in unpopulated areas.
Q: Has there been an investigation launched into why the Patriot missiles failed to stop the Scud warhead last night?
A: I don't know that there's any big investigation involved in it -- the Patriot did what it was told to do, what the system said it was supposed to do, and that was to hit the missile that was in-bound. Any missile, I don't care whether it's an air-to-air missile that's being launched, or a land-to-land missile, or a missile being launched against a ship, won't necessarily hit it's target, especially in a real dynamic situation like you've had, in the exact spot that we would like it hit. It could have, at the last minute, hit some kind of bump of some sort. There's a myriad of reasons for that. I think the important thing is that it hit the missile. I think the other thing we need to remind ourselves of, there has not been one Scud that has made it into Saudi Arabia that has not been intercepted if we wanted to intercept it.
Q: Could you tell us why the Patriots over Riyadh chase the Scuds south and shoot them down over the city, which seems to be what's happening?
A: You're getting into some technical questions with the Patriot system that I'm afraid I'm not qualified to answer."(50)
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia: At the Joint Arab Forces Command military briefing, Col. al-Rubayan said: "Last night brought new Scuds on Dhahran and on Saudi capital Riyadh. Riyadh was attacked at 10:23 last night. The attack on Dhahran came at 3:29 am today, and triggered alarms in Riyadh as well as in the eastern province. The one Scud fired at Dhahran and the two fired at Riyadh were intercepted by Patriot missiles and destroyed. Our information is that debris from one of the two explosives fell on a government building in the city. It's caused the death of one citizen and injury to thirty other person who were from a variety of countries including Saudi Arabia. The incident is under active review by the newly formed committee of Saudi and U.S. investigators. On the ground last night, Iraq fired short-range Frog tactical missiles across the border. The missiles impacted in the Saudi Arabian desert, hitting no one and causing no damage....
Q: The damage that was caused to the building that you cited, do you know yet whether it was caused by the Scud, or by the Patriot or by the combination of both? The actual physical damage to that building?
A: The information that we have that it was debris, and could have been from both missiles.
Q: Why is there such little warning given when a Scud's on its way?...
A: This details goes into the warning and command control system which I really cannot answer...
Q: Where were the people who were injured last night? Were they mostly in one place or were they hit by debris all over the area?
A: They were hit by debris, but not very far.(51)
The Pentagon: At a briefing, MG Martin Brandtner said: "In the last 24 hours, prior to the last 24 hours (??) -- prior to the last 15 minutes -- Iraq had launched nine Scuds -- six of them at Israel and three into Saudi Arabia. Of that, eight of the nine were intercepted by Patriot missiles. Within the past 15 minutes or so, we have had four launches detected -- one that was launched into Riyadh and was intercepted by a Patriot missile, and I think you saw that one, probably, and it indicated that there was some debris that did impact into the city. We don't have any more on that. We also have been advised that three other missiles were launched toward Haifa and one to Tel Aviv. We do not know the outcome of those events at this time, but we do have indications that all were engaged by Patriot missiles.
Q: You said four launches have been intercepted in the last 15 minutes before you came in here - one at Riyadh, three towards Haifa, and one towards Tel Aviv.
A: Brandtner: If I gave you those numbers, it's one to Riyadh, three to Haifa, and one to Tel Aviv. Five. I'm sorry. (Poor counting yet again?)
Q: Another question about the Scuds, apparently they are separating in the air, warheads breaking away from the booster, which makes it even more difficult for the Patriots to intercept. Can you tell us about the difficulties this poses to the Patriots? And also, if you believe there are a sufficient number of Patriots in theater to deal with the Scud threat?
A: Brandtner: I'll answer your second question first, and say yes. And secondly, we look at all the operational parameters of the weapons system, and we're constantly evaluating its performance. We will make sure that it works right, and it is working right. The remarkable success record of the Patriot stands on its own.
Q: A lot of times the boosters are falling to ground and causing a lot of damage on their own.
A: Brandtner: There is debris that comes from the impact of a missile, and how the missile breaks up once it's been impacted, I think is a chance event. The missile is being struck by the Patriot as intended. Things come out of the sky when you have an impact like that, and you just can't control what comes out as a result of that.
Q: I'm talking about prior to impact by the Patriot, as they're breaking apart.
A: I can't address that.
MG Brandtner said: "Before I go here, let me tell you that we have the Joint Staff giving us the most current information on the Scuds, to try to keep it straight. Three Scuds into Tel Aviv, one into Haifa - not as may have been said earlier. (Only 4 as in launches rather than Scud numbers (5 above) total?)
Q: As a sort of summation, now that you get the latest on Scuds, can you sum up today's attack, sort of spelling it out?
A: I don't know that I have a great deal to add to what was said earlier. The best information that we have, as of 4:15 Eastern time on Saturday, is that three Scuds were fired into Tel Aviv and one into Haifa. I don't know the extent of the damage.
Q: Do you know if they were intercepted?
A: I think Gen. Brandtner has already addressed that, and I don't have anything further on that."(52)
JANUARY 27, 1991 (0 Scuds)
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia: At a CENTCOM Briefing, Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf said: "As far as air defense activities are concerned, I'm sure you know that to date the Iraqis have fired 51 Scud missiles - 26 at Saudi Arabia and 25 at Israel. The most recent attack was last night at about 10:48 (22:50) local time. I don't think I need to tell anybody here that we took one Scud missile in Saudi Arabia from southern Iraq, and five Scud missiles were launched against Israel from western Iraq. The Patriot battery at Riyadh, of course, did kill the incoming Scud missile here; and preliminary reports indicate the Patriot missiles also killed all five incoming in Israel yesterday.(53) (Low count Log A gives 6 at Israel.)
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia: At the Joint Form Command military briefing, Col. al-Rubayan stated: "There was a Scud attack on the Saudi capital. At about 10:48 (22:50) last night, the Patriot was intercepted and destroyed over Riyadh by a Patriot. The debris fell in an empty field and there were no casualties....
Q: On the Scud last night, the television film showed the explosion on the ground. Was that the warhead?
A: It was the debris of either one or both ... Either the Scud or the Patriot or the debris from both as a result of interception of the warhead. I don't think it hit.
Q: Well, all of us, I think, are glad the Patriots are picking off these Scuds that are coming into Riyadh. We are seeing debris of warheads falling either near the city or in the city. How concerned are you that if they were to send a Scud with a chemical warhead that it could drop chemical weapons, even if it's intercepted by a Patriot, drop chemical weapons into the city?
A: We are in a war and we should plan for the worst. We hope that they don't have the capability to do that, but if they did, our citizens and almost everybody here in the Kingdom has been provided with the protective measure."(54)
© 1992 Steven A. Hildreth
Comparison of the available first format NBC Desk Log sheets
with other information, January 17th to January 27th 1991...
The following eleven pages are generated to compare SCUD missile launch records from the available original CENTCOM (first format) 'secret' log sheets with Log A.
The information is ordered on the basis of a page per day, with a 24 hour timescale uniformly divided into hourly blocks. All available data is then placed along this timeline. Points of interest are added and false alarms are highlighted. (These pages will be updated as and when new information becomes available.)
It can be seen that there is a clear correspondence between the incidents given as false alarms and the periods for which there are no log sheets available, as well as for other SCUD events. SCUD activity sharply dropped off after January 27th. In the following two weeks there were no more multiple launches of missiles. Only ten (?) were used, and most of these fell on Israel. Only one more false alarm was recorded on Log A, this being on February 23rd. This was the night after the final ultimatum lain down to Iraq prior to the beginning of the ground offensive to retake Kuwait itself. This last event is not discussed here.
© GVIN/SCUDWATCH 2005