Friday 6 September 2013

Close Up Images Of The Unidentified Munition Linked To Alleged Chemical Attacks (UMLACA)

Last week, I posted a number of images of one of the munitions recovered from the scene of alleged chemical attacks in Damascus, which I've dubbed UMLACA (Unidentified Munitions Linked to Alleged Chemical Attacks).  I've now been sent 11 more photographs, which for the first time gives close ups of key parts of the munition.  As before, they can all be freely used by anyone, be they newspapers, TV stations, bloggers, MIT professors, or government agencies. These images and more can be found here.

Warhead base plate/flange side view

Warhead base plate/flange exterior
Warhead base plate/flange interior
Base plate/flange hole A exterior
Base plate/flange hole A interior
Base plate/flange hole B interior
Internal column front end
Base plate/flange connector and internal column
Base plate/flange connector and internal column
Extreme close up of green residue on the inside of the internal column
More posted on the subject of the August 21st attacks can be found here, and other posts on chemical weapons and Syria, including extremely informative interviews with chemical weapon specialists, can be found here.

You can contact the author on Twitter @brown_moses or by email at



    1. Rocket motor internal columns (chambers)normally have a coated layer (linear) between the rocket motor inner metal column (chamber) surface and the propellant.

    2. Normally this type of linear is composed of a mixture of asbestos-fiber-epoxy or similar materials. I don't think asbestos is used much anymore.

    3. This material is normally sprayed in the chamber while the chamber is spun and then the coated item is cured in place.

    4. This material functions as a linear/insulator and provides a continuous bond between propellant and chamber.

  2. Ref; Videos Syria youtube playlist, Syrian Government Chemical Attack Linked; videos 9, 15, 16, 18, 21.

    It would be nice if you could post close up photos of the UMLACA-UK nose assembly (video 18) that shows a portion of the adapter booster/burster assemble and possible fuze well. Videos 9, 15, 16 also shows some components that are used to extend the internal column (rocket motor) to the nose assembly. This extended void (pocket)is where I believe the UMLACA-UK burster is probably located. Adding these photos will give a better visual picture of the entire warhead and its associated components.

    2. I already posted my best guess description of these components in the blog titled; A Detailed Summary Of The Evidence On Munitions Linked To The August 21st Attacks.

  3. Wave, BM - do you think that these munitions may be fired in pairs?

    The launcher is double barreled.

    One barrel will contain an FAE and the other a CW. They are bound to impact very close. The FAE is to disperse the CW and also provide a coverup for the CW as it appears from the scene with scorched ground that both rockets were FAEs?

    In the video with the UN staff sampling next to a short wall, you can also see evidence of scorched ground and wall destruction to the left of the one being sampled.

    1. Khalid, Sorry for the delay I had to change my name and no I am not a female. I prefer not to get into successful tactics or failed tactics, so I will pass on this observation of yours.

  4. Warhead base plate/flange exterior and other images of the "fill holes" look a lot like 5 gallon drum parts. Many drums have two different size bungs for different thread standards.

    Other single "fill hole" plates look to be drum lids with a single poor hole.

  5. wave - thanks for your pointer to the videos. It seems that the numbering has changed and #18 has become #17, etc. very confusing.

    Your description of the head assembly seems spot on. The plate in vid 15 seems not to belong to an UMLACA. There is no evidence in the video of an UMLACA.

    There are still some mysteries. Why the burster charge is inside the barrel's central tube. This would significantly impair its function I think. And the flat top of the rocket is not damaged materially. If that is where the burster is, you'ld think the flat top would be pierced.

    It's also not clear why the top assembly is so heavy solid metal. Wouldn't this impair the flight in particular that the tail fan is so much smaller than the head barrel?

    The top assembly being solid, I suppose that assures the dispersion is directed not to the ground but to the atmosphere?

  6. wave - I have always wondered why the burster charge does not ignite or detonate the cloud? The cloud should be on fire before the detonater goes off? In your work, how did you stop the fuel being ignited by the burster?

  7. FAE BLU96
    Thermobaric Advanced weapons being used

  8. Khalid-yes the videos have changed.

    Video 15, 16, 17, and maybe 14 seem to be from the same UMLACA-UK event. Notice the official looking guy with the notebook, nice clothes, nice shoes, and silver band on his right wrist, he is in all three of these videos. Also notice the damage to one side of the plate in video 15, sheared bolts and other explosion exposures stresses/indentations. My guess is this component may be the base plate of the booster chamber located in the forward section of this warhead.
    I don't believe the burster is inside the warheads central tubing but in the nose void (pocket) and has its own containment chamber.

    The nose assembly is typically the most robust area on most warheads and I believe the nose is close to the same diameter as the base assembly.

    All the components of this warhead should be in the general area of the warhead functioning point, particularly if it was a FAE or CW warhead. The nose assembly and its associated components will receive the most damage due to the burster functioning. High explosive warhead detonations tend to severely damage all warhead components/materials and throw them much greater distance. I will make another post about some unique post blast signatures from FAE warhead detonations.

  9. Simple answer (because I don't know exactly why). I think the FAE fuel in its liquid state gets a ignition grace period as it expands outward and mixes with oxygen until it reaches its optimum flash point.

  10. Brown Moses; have you seen this?
    Alex Jones is warning that there maybe a nuclear false flag attack in South Carolina to work over the population to get the vote in Congress... It sounds bizar, and Alex Jones is not my thing. But what if he's right? Please look in to this. To me you are the only outlet I've seen bringing untainted reporting on Syria. Thx. J.

  11. Any comment on this unbiased "study" done by a former Raytheon guy and an MIT guy:

    These guys are also trying to directly connect the "Syrian CW launch" video with the MUCH smaller rocket found at the sites, to account for a large alleged death toll(payload). I bet they have visited your blog. Nice job. They just stretched the image to make the small rocket look longer, but couldn't do the same to fix the OD. NY times readers should fall for it.

    "The new study was conducted by Richard M. Lloyd, an expert in warhead design, and Theodore A. Postol, a physicist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In interviews and reports, the two weapons specialists said their analysis of rocket parts and wreckage posted online suggested that the warheads carried toxic payloads of about 50 liters (13 gallons), not the one or two liters (up to half a gallon) of nerve agent that some weapons experts had previously estimated."

    1. This is a larger size experimental rocket never used against rebels.

      You are confusing two rockets. The larger one pictured is under field trials. The image is NY Times choice, not the expert's.

      It is the smaller one with an OD of 33 cm and length of about 2m that has been documented killing families.

      Nice try though.

  12. wave - good observation on #15. However, the damage is very localized to the store, while the other components are in another location. If this is an FAE, the damage cannot be localized away from the rocket shell? And the damaged area seems rather small.

    Your theory is that the rocket is 6 to 12 inches short of the barrel's central tube. And that space is utilized by the burster. But I think you are saying now that the burster charge has its own chamber underneath the top plate assembly (up direction is when standing on its tail), and the space is utilized by the nose fuze?

    1. 1. Khalid-(long, part1) The burster chamber fills the void between the front of the rocket motor and is connected to the nose assembly. It could be a component from a FAE or CW warhead since they both function the same way to disperse their filler. The damage to this component would be the same in either CW or FAE warheads and the damage would be caused by the burster. When a FAE warhead functions it is a two detonation event process. FAE bombs require exact timing and fuze sequencing to ensure the fuel air is dispersed and ignited when the fuel air mix is at its optimum flash point. If this timing is off only a small amount the fuel air explosion blast effects will degrade rapidly to the point of what I would call a fizzle event. All the videos you see of FAE explosions are of one that worked properly for PR purposes and trust me there are lots that don't work as advertised.

      2. The FAE Bomb donut hole; The very first FAE bomb test I participated in the first thing I noticed, post warhead detonation, was this area that was relatively free of blast damage. This relatively damage free "donut hole" was about a 30 foot circular radius around the central detonation point of the warhead. Yet two targets, one a CMU building and the other an aircraft, were over 100 feet away and were totally destroyed. I will try my best to explain this FAE bomb donut hole effect. I am only going to talk about FAE warheads filled with ethylene/propylene oxide or other similar liquid fuel. I will not talk about thermobaric warheads because they are a separate animal. First some general info that all FAE warheads seem to have in common. I have not seen a FAE warhead that did not contain these first three described components.
      a. Fuzing; FAE warheads use either a nose proximity fuze or a standoff probe fuzing system. This type fuzing is designed to function at a predetermined Height of Burst above the target surface.
      b. Burster; FAE warheads use a burster to open the warhead and disperse the liquid fuel filler. The burster is a tube with an explosive charge inside. There seems to be some confusion on what to call the central tube in the UMLACA-UK warhead. There is no component called a burster tube that does not contain explosives. Any tube that does not have explosives in it is just an empty tube. Also any tube that contain rocket motor propellant grain is called a rocket motor.
      c. Cloud Detonators; FAE warheads use cloud detonators and they are located on the rear sides of the warhead or in the baseplate. These cloud detonators are normally connected to the warhead nose fuzing system through warhead internal or external plumbing. The cloud detonators are ejected from the warhead simultaneously with the fuze/burster functioning and the beginning of the liquid filler dispersing/mixing process. The cloud detonator have preset delays and are designed to initiate the fuel air cloud at the optimum time.
      d. Other possible FAE components you might see include parachutes for warhead deceleration and decreasing the target impact angle. Also FAE warheads may contain pre-scored outer skin or linear cutting charges for ease and uniform skin removal during warhead functioning.

    2. Continued;
      e. FAE donut hole effect; Two separate warhead detonation events.
      (1) Fuzing/burster functioning, warhead skin separation, dispersing of fuel filler and ejection of cloud detonators all happen in this first warhead detonation event. The burster detonation forces the fuel outward at 360 degrees circle and at 90 degrees from the warhead center line. The burster explosion and outward expanding fuel cloud consumes most of the oxygen in the donut hole area leaving it devoid of any fuel/oxygen products needed for a fuel air explosion.
      (2) The fuel air column continues to propagate outward at 360 degrees and hopefully when it reaches its optimum point of fuel/oxygen mix the cloud detonators function and initiate the fuel/oxygen mix. The fuel air cloud then starts its detonation process and it is designed to focus its blast wave in an outward direction.
      (3) "Donut Hole" post blast; This is the point where the warhead functioning process started and includes the area closely surrounding this point. This donut hole will be relatively free of blast effects damage and shows very little evidence of thermal damage to target surfaces.

      Note; There should be clear post blast damage evidence if a FAE warhead detonated, primarily blast and thermal effects. If a CW warhead is used there also should be evidence of the chemical agent residue, and human/animal symptoms and indicators. Khalid mentioned the possibility of using both CW and FAE on the same target which is very possible.

      3. Some other things that will inhibit the outward expanding fuel/oxygen cloud from reaching its optimum fuel/oxygen mix.
      a. When the expanding fuel/oxygen cloud impacts a vertical structure such as a building the fuel/oxygen mix out will be inhibited but the wall may still show the effects of thermal damage because the inhibited portion of the cloud may still have a fizzle type event.
      b. If the FAE warhead functions at (example; 45 degrees angle) of the target surface then the expanding fuel/oxygen cloud will also be tilted 45 degrees. This normally results in the lower portion of the expanding fuel/oxygen cloud impacting the ground and its formation is inhibited just like it would be from impacting a vertical surface (fuel/Oxygen does not mix well with dirt). The effects of this will be the same as seen on a vertical wall.

  13. The rocket is a Syrian Ministry of Defense production. Based on a North Korean design. the warhead is filled with a flammable gas. The warhead is usually opened above the ground. The flammable gas is dispersed and the ignited. The system works as a FAE. This weapon was used before in several other places in Syria but the media didnt pay attention.

    1. That rings true, on all counts really.

      It all looked as if it had been simplified to the greatest degree possible, so it could be made in a wide range of light industrial workshops. I can quite believe it's been used before and ignored.

      Apart from subsequent ignition, there's no real difference between FAE hardware and CW hardware, which is worrying in a North Korean context because South Korea has many times the population of Syria, and Seoul has as much population as the whole of Syria in one city.

      Some of the best documented FAE explosions have been entirely accidental:

      NB: this had similar energy to "only" fifteen tons of TNT, and did structural damage over a one mile radius. The more recent Buncefield explosion was felt, never mind heard, on the campus of Kiel University, about two hours drive away.(I actually thought a car had hit my house, and I'm nearly fifty miles from Buncefield.)

      Industrial-scale FAE events can produce blast effects comparable to a tactical nuclear weapon, but with much less energy. Typically, 80% of the energy of a nuclear airburst will be radiation that will disappear straight into the upper atmosphere and outer space. Much more of the energy of an FAE stays in the lower atmosphere as a blast wave, which rolls along for a considerable distance, especially if there's an overcast (unbroken low cloud)

      A military FAE explosion on the Flixborough scale might be possible if an SU24 were to drop several large FAEs with just one of them having its secondary ignitors fitted. It would need some pretty expert fusing and timing.

      To produce an explosion on the Buncefield scale, the delivery system would need to be a large transport aircraft, like an Antonov.

      What I would most fear from these relatively small FAE devices, would be the accumulation of expertise and data that would allow much bigger blasts to be contrived, because above a certain size there is indeed a wave effect which becomes very efficient at dropping buildings for a couple of thousand yards, never mind a hundred metres.

      The most notable thing about the Fuji film factory in Hemel Hempstead after the Buncefield explosion, was that you couldn't tell there had been a building there at all.