The Qiam-1 [“Uprising-1”] is a liquid fueled, short-range ballistic missile (SRBM) developed and deployed by Iran. The missile is an indigenous variant of the Shahab-2 SRBM. Unlike Iran’s other Scud-variants, it does not have external tail fins, and has a separating warhead. Iran has employed the Qiam-1 in combat operations on multiple occasions since 2017.
Qiam-1 at a Glance
Originated from: Iran
Possessed by: Iran, Houthi militant groups (Yemen)
Class: Short-range ballistic missile (SRBM)
Length: 11.5 m
Diameter: 0.88 m (body), 0.60 m (warhead)
Launch weight: 6,155 kg
Payload: 750 kg
Warhead: High explosive (HE) fragmentation, submunitions
Propulsion: Single-stage liquid propellant
Range: 700 – 800 km
In service: 2017
The Qiam-1 is a single-stage, liquid fueled SRBM. The missile measures 11.5 m in length, 0.88 m in body diameter, 0.66 m in warhead diameter, and weighs 6,155 kg at launch. It is reportedly capable of delivering a 750 kg payload to ranges between 700 and 800 km.
The Qiam-1 is distinguished from other Scud variants by its lack of tail fins, instead using a thrust vector control system to stabilize the missile.1 The missile is also believed to possess a separable warhead and ground-based radio guidance system, significantly improving accuracy over prior Scud-based designs.2 The warhead’s distinctive triconic shape is thought to enhance its stability after separation. In addition to improving accuracy, such a configuration could reduce the system’s radar signature, potentially increasing its survivability against missile defense.
Unveiled in 2010, the Qiam-1 reportedly derives from Iran’s Shahab-2, a variant of Russia’s Scud-C SRBM.3 The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Aerospace Force (IRGC-AF) reportedly acquired its first set of Qiam-1 missiles in late May 2010.4 Qiam-1 successfully completed its first flight test on August 20, 2010 and was publicly displayed during an armed forces parade in October 2010.5 Iran announced a second successful test flight on February 10, 2014.6 In the same month, Iran’s Fars news agency released images of 24 Qiam-1s stored in an underground tunnel complex.7 The IRGC conducted a third flight test of the Qiam-1 in March 2016.8
The Qiam-1 may have seen its first operational use on June 18, 2017 in an attack against Islamic State militants in Syria’s eastern Deir ez-Zor region. Conflicting reports state that Iran fired five or six missiles at Deir ez-Zor, including up to five Zolfaghar SRBMs and one Shahab-3 or Qiam-1 missile. Though sources at the time claimed that Iran launched single Shahab-3, later assessments suggest that it fired a Qiam-1.9 It remains unclear whether the missiles hit their targets.
On October 1, 2018, Iran fired up to two Qiam-1 missiles in an attack on Islamic State targets in Al Bukamal, Syria. According to reports, Iran launched six ballistic missiles from a base in Kermanshah Province; accounts are uncertain whether the missiles struck their targets, with some claiming that two Qiam-1 missiles failed in flight.10
Beginning around 2017, Iran begun transferring Qiam-1 missiles to Yemen’s Houthi militants as the “Burkan-2H” (Borkan-2H) [“Volcano-2H”]. 11 On July 22, 2017, Houthi rebels fired a Burkan-2H missile for the first time, targeting an oil refining facility in Yanbu, Saudi Arabia. On November 4, 2017, Houthi militants again fired a Burkan-2H, this time at King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh.12 Saudi Arabia claimed its Patriot system successfully intercepted the missile, though that account was later disputed by independent analysts.13 Saudi forces later claimed several successful intercepts of Burkan-2H missiles over Riyadh in April, May, and June 2018.14