Monday 2 September 2013

A Detailed Summary Of The Evidence On Munitions Linked To The August 21st Attacks

Since the August 21st alleged chemical attack in Damascus, I've been working to gather as much evidence as possible relating to the attack, and sharing it on this blog.  This post acts to summarise the evidence I've gathered so far, as well as examining some of the claims made about the attack.  This is all up for healthy debate in the comments below, and it should be kept in mind that "evidence" does not equal "proof" when debating this information.

What munitions were used in the attack?

One thing to understand about the munitions used in chemical attacks is they are designed to disperse an agent, and as chemical agents are generally heat sensitive, huge explosions are the not the ideal mechanism to do that.  In many cases a smaller dispersal charge is used, and this means you can expect to find significant remains of the munitions used after a chemical attack.

M14 140mm Artillery Rocket
Since the attacks the remains of only two munitions have been recorded by activists in Damascus.  The first, a M14 140mm artillery rocket fired from the BM-14 multiple rocket launcher (and variants), was filmed in Medmah al-Sham in Damascus, and footage recorded by the activists shows the UN inspectors taking measurements and samples from the munition.  The remains shown in the video are barely damaged, with only the warhead and connector missing.  This may be significant, as one potential warhead carries 2.2kg of sarin, but it should be clear there's also a smoke warhead for this munition.  As with both munitions linked to the alleged chemical attack, it seems only the UN report will clarify whether or not these were likely to be carrying any sort of chemical agent.  Only one example of this artillery rocket was recorded and put online, it's unknown if there's further examples at the attack sites.  More details on the M14 140mm and my identification of it can be found here.

The second munition linked to the alleged chemical attack is pictured above.  What's extremely interesting about this munition is it appears to be something that's unique to the conflict.  I've spoken to a number of arms and chemical weapons specialists, and they do not recognise this as any specific type of munition.  For the purposes of this blog post, and to save me having to write out "the unidentified munition linked to alleged chemical attacks" repeatedly, I will refer to this as the UMLACA (Unidentified Munition Linked to Alleged Chemical Attacks).

There's two main strands to understanding this munition in the context of alleged chemical weapon attacks in Syria; what the munition actually, and it's use in the conflict so far.

Working with a number of arms and chemical weapons specialists, we've tried to build a picture of what the UMLACA actually is.  It appears there's actually at least two types of this munition, one with a high explosive warhead, the other with an unknown non-explosive fill linked to alleged chemical attacks.  I'll refer to these as UMLACA-HE (high explosive) and UMLACA-UK (unknown).

Why do you think there's two types of "UMLACA"?

A number of videos have been posted online showing the UMLACA (see here), and what stood out were two videos, one from Khalidiyah, Homs, on August 2nd, and a second from Camp Sbeineh, Damascus, on August 29th.  In both videos the payload, a yellow high explosive powder, has failed to explode.  We can also see they share the same black numbering, and the base plate of the warhead has one hole on it, which will be significant when we look at the UMLACA-UK.

As I mentioned before, an explosive payload would do massive damage to a munition, and as we can see in the above videos there's a significant amount of explosive inside these munitions, so we'd expect very little to remain of the munition after it detonated.

Now let's look at the images of the UMLACA-UK from the August 21st attacks


As damaged as they are, they've clearly not been involved with the sort of explosion the quantities of high explosive we've seen in the UMLACA-HE videos would create.  In all the images of the UMLACA-UKs, we see that the warhead section is undamaged, and no sign of the yellow high explosive powder from the UMLACA-HE videos.

There's also two other easily noticable differences between the UMLACA-UK and the UMLACA-HE.  First, multiple examples of the UMLACA-UK have red number, as opposed to the UMLACA-HE's black numbering

On the base plate of the warhead we also always see two holes, instead of the single hole on the UMLACA-HE base plate

These holes are one of the theories and ideas that are being explored about these munitions.  They include:
- The second hole on the UMLACA-UK being a fill port for the fill of the warhead.
- Coloured markings indicating the type of payload, with yellow and black stripes marked on the UMLACA-HE.
- The UMLACA-HE having a longer rocket motor to deal with the heavier payload.

How are the UMLACAs launched?

A week after the alleged chemical attack in Damascus the following video was posted online, appearing to show one the UMLACAs being loaded and launched

Here we can clearly see the munition is rocket propelled, and launched from a tube launcher.  Arms expert Nic Jenzen-Jones described this launcher as an Iranian Falaq-2-type launcher in his blog post on these munitions.  There's also a  few interesting details that are worth highlighting; it appears there's a yellow band on the tail of the munition, which might indicate it's a high explosive type (as previously explained), and the tail section seems significantly longer than that of UMLACA-UK, with this clearly being longer than the men stood by it, while the UMLACA-UK's tail section seems around the height of an adults shoulders.  One other thing that's very interesting, at this point in the video, the man in the red jacket appears to be screwing something into the base plate.  Could this relate to the hole in the base plate we've seen in both types of UMLACA?

It should be stressed that the design of these munitions is highly unusual and distinct, so even from a distance they stand out.  For example, in this image from November 2012 we see another Falaq-2 type launcher with what appears to be the tail section of an UMLACA extending from the rear

Which side is using the UMLACAs?

One thing to understand about these munitions is they aren't just linked to the August 21st attack.  Since January 2013 there's been a number of images of these munitions posted online, not always linked to alleged chemical attacks (which would be reasonable as we've established there's two types of munitions), but always showing the same design, and in all of these examples they are claimed to be munitions used by the Syrian military against the Syrian opposition.  Here's a list of videos by date and location

January 4th Daraya - Unknown type
June 11th Adra
August 2nd Khalidiya, Homs - UMLACA-HE
August 5th Yabroud - Unknown type
August 5th Adra - UMLACA-UK
August 5th Adra - UMLACA-UK
August 5th Adra - UMLACA-UK
August 21st Eastern Ghouta - Rocket 197 - UMLACA-UK
August 21st Eastern Ghouta - Rocket 197 - UMLACA-UK
August 21st Eastern Ghouta - Rocket 197 - UMLACA-UK
August 21st Eastern Ghouta - UMLACA-UK
August 21st Zamalka - UMLACA-UK

In all but the January 4th Daraya and August 2nd Homs video they are described as chemical munitions.  In the case of the 3 videos from Adra on August 5th, they are linked directly to an attack that took place on the same day, with videos of the victims of the attack showing the same kinds of symptoms.  I spoke to a doctor in Damascus who claims to have treated victims from both the August 21st attack and August 5th attack, and he claimed the symptoms where the same in both attacks.

The following video may also show the same munition being launched, from Qadam railway station in Damascus, currently under the control of Syrian government forces.

I've taken three close up frames of the munition in the video and pasted them side by side

As you can see the profile of the munition seems to be very much like that of the UMLACAs, certainly we can see two sections, with the warhead section being much wider than the rocket section, and the proportion of the warhead to rocket being what we'd expect to see.  As I've said before, this is a very distinct looking munition, and I'm not aware of any other rocket in either sides arsenal that has this same shape.

So on the government side we've got everything I've posted above, but what of evidence that the Syrian opposition has these munitions?  As far as I'm aware, none exists.  I've been tracking the arms and munitions used by both sides in the conflict for 18 months, and I've never seen this being used by the opposition.  If they did have these, and were just hiding them from view, I'd ask why over the past few months they've also developed the Hell Cannon, a type of DIY mortar, and the Sayidna Omar Gun, a larger version of the Hell Cannon, when they already have access to an obviously superior type of munition?

How do we know these are chemical weapons?

That's the thing, we don't.  As I've said all along these are munitions linked to alleged chemical attacks, not chemical munitions used in chemical attacks.  It's ultimately up to the UN to confirm if chemical weapons were used, and if that's the case then it seems only the munitions above have been linked to the attacks.  One of the few things we can be sure of is it's not a persistent agent, otherwise the people filming and photographing these munitions would be long dead.  There's been some discussion about whether or not these are FAE (fuel-air explosive) munitions, but ultimately it's up to the UN to confirm the use of chemical munitions.  In fact, the following video from August 28th shows members of the UN team taking samples from the location of one of the UMLACA-UKs

What about the video of rebels firing a chemical weapon?

The following video has been doing the rounds after the August 21st attack, claiming to show the opposition firing a chemical weapon

In some versions of this video it's even the attack taking place, which is impossible as this was filmed in daylight, and originally posted on Youtube over a month ago.  What we're seeing here is the previously mentioned Hell Cannon, a type of DIY mortar that has been used widely by the Syrian opposition over the past few months.  The group who originally built them even put out a promotional video about them, showing being constructed, and the rounds being filled with DIY fertilizer based explosives

Maybe the Syrian opposition has been filling these with chemical weapons, but there's no evidence of that, just claims on Youtube videos, and they really mean nothing without actual evidence.

What about the video showing rebels ordering the use of sarin?

Another video doing the rounds at the moment is this one, claiming to show the opposition ordering the use of sarin

This is a copy of a video produced by Liwa al-Islam, their logo being in the top left corner.  It's of course impossible to know the soundtrack is authentic, because this isn't the original video.  Liwa al-Islam's Youtube channels have an annoying tendency to get shut down by Youtube, so finding the original upload of this video may be impossible, but if anyone has it, and wants to prove this videos soundtrack is genuine, please let me know.

I heard it was an accident, what about that?

Mint Press recently reported that witnesses had told them that the chemical attack was the result of an accident after opposition fighters accidentally blew up a load of chemical weapons they'd been supplied by Saudi Arabic.  I asked a number of chemical weapons specialists to give their opinion on the story, and they seemed unconvinced, and there's the questions of how one accident could effect a wide area, yet miss locations in between the areas effected?

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. Interesting post. You make a convincing case for the regime being responsible.

    You mention FAEs or fuel air explosive munitions briefly, some of us are unfamiliar, can you expand on that

    1. As this is "A Detailed Summary Of The Youtube Evidence On Munitions Linked To The August 21st Attacks", I think you mean that site makes a convincing case for the regime being responsible. What a surprise, huh?

    2. FAEs or thermobarics can be found on Wiki. Also the patent on the M130, an FAE, google-patent link posted in previous comments is very interesting.

  2. Why would the numbering be in western numerals and not in the arabic or farsi?

    1. Valid question, you do find on Iranian arms they use western numerals and text, probably easier for their export market to read. Maybe related? Who knows, we'll have to wait for the evidence.

    2. The Iranian/Arabic numerals are notoriously imprecise and undistinguished, resulting in very serious mistakes. The zero is a period. Imagine what kind of ambiguities that creates. A speck of dust or the erasure of a period will make the number something very different. The difference between 2 and 3 and sometimes 4 is also very slight, and can easily be confused. Also 4 can be confused with 6.

      In East Asia, Latin numerals is official. In Syria, Lebanon, unlike Iran or SA, Latin numerals are the norm in urban centers.

    3. What you're calling Latin numerals are what we call Arabic numerals.

      I, II, III, IV, V etc are Latin numerals.

    4. The numbers shown are Arabic numbers as we call them. There's an older Arabic system yet, and Arabs call these adopted numbers Indian numbers. They borrowed from Inidia, the rest borrowed from Arabs, to replace Roman. India, awesome. FAE ... only if the ground around is burned and walls nearby are knocked over, but that vaporizes Sarin I think ...

  3. The UMLACA with the two holes may be a weapon to be charged with Sarin. The Syrians have a method that they do not load pure Sarin, but two chemicals that react in situ to form Sarin. In this way, the agent can be stored more safely.
    By pouring the two precursors in the two holes and capping these holes quickly, the loading of the ammunition is much safer for the military preparing the weapons. When the precursors mix inside the weapon, the Sarin forms and is kept inside the weapon, ready to be deployed.
    This information comes from the recently published French intelligence report on the Syrian gas attack.

    1. The first hole is most probably the detonator. So it is possible that the precursors are poured in the same second hole. Maybe they pour an insulating liquid/solvent after the first pour and before the second pour, so that Sarin is not formed immediately. When capped and the thing is handled, the chemical reaction takes place.

  4. Pieter van Pelt are you a chemical waepon expert?

    Please read this.

    Calculations of Lethality of Ethylene Oxide/Fuel Air Explosive Chemical

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. Just a thought: Wouldn't it be very stupid of the Syrian Army to deliver Sarin with this type of munition? I'm thinking about the very characteristics that are outlined: Here we have a conspicuous type of artillery which is not destroyed beyond recognition on impact. On the contrary, parts of it can be examined in detail, as evidenced during the UN inspections. Wouldn't this be a obvious calling card, a smoking gun - the equivalent of leaving fingerprints on a murder scene? If these indeed are Sarin munitions, there should be a clear signature around whats left of the munitions. Therefore - in a rational scenario, these munitions would surely require a clear-up operation (remove incriminating evidence). Especially in the context of the Damascus location, Obamas red line, UN inspectors nearby- etc. There is of course nothing rational about the situation, but still...

    1. The Syrian regime postponed the inspections as far as possible. Sarin naturally decomposes, especially when exposed to elements and impurities, and it is unclear if there will be remnants of Sarin or its decomposed signature on the weapons or in the soil, after this long time. Then they tried to eviscerate the area with shelling to cover up the evidence.

    2. You forgot to add that the UN had its inspectors staying at the hotel for several days, not letting them go out.

      Sarin can be detected years afterwards. As for who really did the shelling, who knows, since CNN and FOX have proved time and again to be unreliable.

    3. The Syrian army would no doubt like to do so, but the target area is still held by the rebels, who presumably would not cooperate:-)

    4. The problem here is the rational scenario. You cannot assume any party acts rationally in this conflict.

      Assad was characterized (in the embassy cables Wikileaks published) as being prone to lashing out, in fact the US relied on it and hoped to provoke him into "a self-defeating overreaction" in their own words. This was in 2006.

      Even if he wasn't, Assad may well be pushed into the kind of game-theoretic corner where acting unpredictably is "rational". Brinkmansship isn't pretty.

      So I think we should prefer concrete evidence about what's happened, rather than speculation about who would do that.

    5. I'm not really assuming anything - I'm just making the point that these peculiar munitions, with a sarin signature around them - would amount to a smoking gun. It will be very interesting to see the results from the UN inspections on the UMLACA - that is, if they ever will go public. In the past, reports from UN inspections have mysteriously disappeared in the UN system. (e.g. General Major Robert Moods report from the Houla massacre).

    6. Rebels have captured military equipment from the govt.
      forces in the territories that Syrian army ceded.
      In the videos posted by the opposition, captured tanks, artillery,etc were shown. I am not aware where
      the chemicals are stored and could have fallen into
      the hands of the opposition. If so, al Qaeda linked
      group won't hesitate to use them. They are well known for committing atrocities. surprisingly in the media
      there is no suspicion of al Qaeda. It is like World war 2, Stalin became the great ally and Churchill was willing to have alliance with devil against Hitler.

  7. Example of an unexploded airborne bomb with liquid fuel. Probably a FAE/Thermobaric?

  8. January 4th daraya - UMLACA-FAE because the rocket is intact, and though there are fumes emanating, it is non-toxic, and there is a scorched radius on the ground.

    June 11 Adra - UMLACA-UK Has 2 holes, and intact core.

    August 5 Yabroud - very different with two smaller holes and rust colored powder

    August 5 Adra #1 - UMLACA-CW - spasmatic dog, dead cat & dog, no scorching. I think this is the smoking gun relating the M130 to CW.

    August 5 Adra #3 - UMLACA-FAE - scortched earth and rubble

    August 21 Eastern Ghouta #197 - UMLACA-FAE - scorched earth and building rubble

    August 21 Eastern Ghouta - possibly UMLACA-CW - no damage to back wall & shop, unless transported from another location.

  9. A better look at the August 5 Adra #1 attack shows that there is indeed a scorched ground and a partly demolished storefront where the cat is, which the videographer momentarily focuses his camera towards before he gets to the cat. Some plants next to the location where the weapon is seems to have been denuded. There is also a gash in the ground next to the cat which may be the place of impact. The classification is back to UMLACA-UK.

  10. Why have no missiles of the larger type been found in Ghouta and related suburbs? Were they used?

    Why have only two of the 144mm rocket bases been found? Surely there would be dozens of them fired if they were the gas vector?

    1. These are rhetorical questions.

      The US, France, are "convinced" already. They can't agree on how many died or say what substance killed them. The UN inspector probably have no proof either, it would've leaked by now.

      Syria it's a done deal. Next war (sorry, liberation, deter-and-degrade, or whatever they'll call it), in 5 years, Iran.

    2. Perhaps I should have been more explicit.

      The Brown Moses CW postings are about potential CW rockets.

      There is no evidence that any of the larger types were used in the August 21 incident. There should be ample evidence they were used as the Brown Moses theory says there will be spent delivery vehicles littering ground presently held by the opposition.

      There is only evidence of two smaller rockets being used. If they were the attack vector then there must have been many dozens of them to have achieved the alleged kill numbers. These have not been found. If there are only two then there is a reasonable inference they were used for other purposes - illumination seems quite likely and smoke less likely.

      The conclusion is that the Brown Moses theories no matter how well documented do not apply to the August 21 incident.

      A corollary is that if the rockets weren't used on August 21 to deliver CW warheads, then why should they have been used on other dates?

    3. It's worth giving this NYT article a read about the warhead
      "A new study of images apparently from the Syrian attack last month concludes that the rockets delivering toxic sarin gas to neighborhoods around Damascus held up to 50 times more nerve agent than previously estimated, a conclusion that could solve the mystery of why there were so many more victims than in previous chemical attacks."

    4. My reading is that it aligns with your theory about the larger type of CW rockets - dual or triple use for HE, FAE, and CW.

      They are saying that the narrow bent tubes/rockets you reported on did not carry the payload, but that the thin-skinned outer cannister could have carried up to 50 litres of CW agent.

      They don't explain why no spent delivery vehicles of that size were found in the rebel controlled area for August 21.

      The UN found no large-size spent munitions. Unless these turn up now, the only conclusion is they weren't used on August 21.

    5. @Charles - I should've been more explicit as well, sarcasm doesn't transfer well over the internet. What I meant is that the case has been closed in absence of the evidence, and it's unlikely to be re-open, no matter how ambigous or clear the UN inspector's results will be.

      @BM - from that article: "They based their investigation on scores of online videos and photographs posted since the Aug. 21 attack sent thousands of sick and dying Syrians to hospitals in the Damascus suburbs"

      This is definetly a new low, even compared to other recent casus belli. It would be hilarious if the situation wouldn't be so tragic.

    6. 1. I just read the article. There is no way any expert would ever miss identify the UMLACA-UK central tube of a functioned warhead as carrying the payload, at least not with all the pictures/videos of functioned warheads. There is also no way an expert would miss identify the central tube in a functioned warhead as the burster (The central tube is for mating the warhead to the rocket motor). You know how the press is, they normally get the facts wrong and misrepresent the information that the experts provided them. The experts are probably pulling their hair out about now. I can understand the confusion over the payload amount because one amount was based on the 140mm warhead capacity and the new amount is probably based on the UMLACA-UK warhead carrying capacity. The burster and primary fuzing for the UKLACA-UK seem to be located in the nose assembly which typically is SOP in most cases. The fuzing/firing component located in the off center rear port also plays some type of role.

      2. The UMLACA-UK warhead skin was mentioned in this
      article also. The warhead has, what I would consider, a thin skinned casing. The outer warhead skin seems to separate from the warhead with some remarkable uniformity, in rectangular pieces along predetermined fault lines. The outer warhead skin also separates from the warhead base assembly and nose assembly along similar fault tine. Some possibilities of why this is happening.
      a. Most likely; The outer metal skin of the warhead is scored (internally) to fail at predetermined points when the burster detonates and exerts outward blast forces against the outer warhead skin.
      b. NOT LIKEL; I have not seen any components yet that would indicate this warhead has a linear explosive type cutting system (normally used in more advanced dispersal/dispensing type warheads/munitions); This type system would use an internal linear cutting charge to cut and remove the warhead skin at predetermined points/pattern.
      (1). The number of linear charges contained within a warhead is determine by the number of cuts required.
      (2). These linear charges will be held against the internal skin of the warhead by a system of conduit/tracking.
      (3). The linear charges will be routed to a central location and connected to a manifold that will allow all the linear charges to be detonated simultaneously by the warhead fuzing system.
      (4). If the UMLACA-UK warhead had this type system you should be able to find components of the conduit/tracking and parts of a shattered manifold.

      3. I have not seen any pictures/videos of a UMLACA-UK
      warhead that was a dud or had one of its main explosive components not function. We have seen all the pictures/video of ones that worked and it should not be hard to ID one that did not function properly.

    7. wave - where on you tube can I find the visdeos you refer to in your bottom post? Also I have added some notes at the end.

  11. I'm thinking that either side in this conflict is perfectly capable of customizing the evidence at the site of the incident(s).

  12. You seem to have overlooked the fact that artillery shells and rockets and aerial bombs often fail to detonate. In most of them there is a percussive device that ignites when shell rocket of bomb hit a hard surface. If this doesn't work, then the contents of shell, rocket or bomb won't explode. This can happen because the percussive device is faulty or because the shell, rocket or bomb doesn't receive a large enough shock to ignite the percussive device. For instance, the British had considerable problems with this which meant that an awful lot of shells did not explode. It was eventually tracked back to bad design and manufacturing and was eventually corrected. The same could be happening with the Syrian munitions you refer to so the rockets might not be as sinister as you believe, they're just not exploding.

  13. Part 1; General info on UMLACA-UK rocket motor and warheads. After reviewing most of the information, pictures, and videos on this blog I have put together a general functional description, based on lots of assumptions, of the UMLACA-UK with the limited data available. Now for the easy part and when I get time I will get into the weeds on the warheads, components, and potential functioning methods.

    1. First I would not characterize the UMLACA-UK weapon system as on the same level as ordnance mass produced in a typical industrialized ammunition plant where ordnance must meet rigid MIL-SPEC standards. Although the UMLACA-UK does appear to be on some level mass produced and displays lower level type MIL-SPEC attributes. This system seems to have one standard motor with up to three possible warhead variants so far (High Explosive, Chemical of some type, and FAE).

    2. I will start with the rocket motor first and just cover the basic warhead attachment adapter since the rocket motor portion is pretty straight forward.

    a. Ref; videos/pictures.

    b. The rocket motor to warhead adapter tube is clearly visible in all referenced materials. It is the tube assembly that is attached onto the forward portion of the rocket motor.

    c. This adapter allows for different types of warheads to utilize the same rocket motor. It is very typical to have a single style/type rocket motor that can be fitted to carry multiple types of warheads.

    d. One video (dud high explosive warhead) shows personnel removing the bolts from the rocket motor to warhead adapter and removing the warhead.

    1. The rocket appears to continue into the warhead and is flat terminated at the top of the warhead.

      Also there seems to be a casing over the main rocket tail. It appears the casing has been slipped over the rocket motor. The fins are attached to the casing and not the inner rocket motor. This would allow different sized motors be adapted to the same warhead.

  14. Great analysis. I think you are the only guy ripping these fake YT videos apart!!!! Thank you for your service.

  15. "Unidentified Munition Linked to Alleged Chemical Attacks

    How are the UMLACAs launched?

    A week after the alleged chemical attack in Damascus the following video was posted online, appearing to show one the UMLACAs being loaded and launched"

    No, it appears to be the launching of a rocket with twice the outer diameter of the Unidentified Munition Linked to Alleged Chemical Attacks.

    Why do you keep omitting the undeniable fact that the 333mm rockets associated with the CW strikes will not fill that truck mounted launcher?

    1. Nobody is denying that the huge launcher is for a different caliber weapon and not for the 333.

      But there is another video for a pair of truck mounted launchers for the 333 mm weapons. You can find it on another post.

    2. "But there is another video for a pair of truck mounted launchers for the 333 mm weapons. You can find it on another post."

      Could you please say where? Thank you.

    3. tron9 - if you go several posts down on this blog, you will find a video of a twin barrel rocket launcher. They are similar to those made in Iran. They seem to fit the 333 caliber.

    4. "if you go several posts down on this blog, you will find a video of a twin barrel rocket launcher."

      Do you mean the launcher in here?:

      Unfortunately I have found there only a foto and no video (just as above in the post) and the diameter of the rocket motor looks again to be more the length of a human head than the 10-12 cm as described for the above UMLACA-UK rocket.

      It would be great if you could provide again the reference you are having in mind.

    5. tron9 - sure - your link above is the larger caliber (probably 600 mm).

      The video I refer to is for the UMLACA which the barrel is about 333mm (not 10 to 12 cm).

      Look at the last picture on:

      It is a still from a video I have seen (I think).

      You will see the caliber is about 333mm and it is a twin launcher. It is much smaller than the 600mm launcher.

      I hope this answers your question.

    6. Sorry, it is not the last picture in the above link, it is the 2nd to last (not including videos) and has a white sedan in the frame.

    7. Thank you for the description. I meant that foto with the white sedan. Yes, the launcher looks definitely smaller then the big one in the video, which you called 600mm. The sizes come much closer to the UMLACA sizes. But still. It looks as if there is a man sitting on the truck like 1-2- meters behind the rocket. If he would go closer to the rocket his head would get a little bigger but probably not much and it looks as if the thickness of the rocket motor (not of the barrel), that is the lower part looks as about the lenghth of his head. But there are a lot of artefacts and the thickness could be just due to a blurry artefact, his head might look to small it is hardly visible. It indeed looks as if the image is coming from a video, so it would be good to see the video may be there are more images. Elliot Higgins had linked above to this image
      in the context of the sedan image, which looks a bit as if this is an image of the same truck. What source is this? Do you know?

    8. I do not know - but I think you can find the link to the video here at BM in older posts, either for the sedan or the blue truck, which looks like they are not in the same location.

      If you compare the barrel diameter to the truck's front wheel, you will see it is smaller than the wheel but larger than the hub. I think a hub is about 25 cm diameter, so it makes me believe the barrels have about 36 cm diameter and match the UMLACA warheads we have seen.

    9. "I think you can find the link to the video here at BM in older posts, either for the sedan or the blue truck, which looks like they are not in the same location."
      Unfortunately I couldn't find the link. What do you mean by they are not in the same location?

      "If you compare the barrel diameter to the truck's front wheel, you will see it is smaller than the wheel but larger than the hub. I think a hub is about 25 cm diameter, so it makes me believe the barrels have about 36 cm diameter"

      I am not sure what you mean with hub. The hub cap of the sedan is probably about 40 cm and looks as being about in the range of the barrel diameter, so yes the barrel diameter could be about 36 cm.
      However the rocket motor looks thicker than 12 cm, but as said this could be an artefact.

      I tried to geolocate the rocket in the above video which was described as
      "The following video may also show the same munition being launched, from Qadam railway station in Damascus"

      the surroundings look quite unique (like that big mosque, or that flat hall-like house left to it, or the house with the red roof even further left and the mountains in the background, and that tower, which looks as if from an airport (however it seems it is not in this airport in the west))
      see also:
      and eventually this

      Unfortunately I couldn't find the location. It would be interesting to know wether the rocket was launched from a street or not.

    10. I have never been to Damascus so I tried now
      to find at least some images of the hills there
      in order to get some clue.
      Google Earth or other mapping service turned out to be too imprecise.
      Image searches on three search engines didn't help
      much. It seems that if the landscape around Damascus
      is fotographed then usually from this Mt. Quasiyon and
      then the mountains in the west are very in the haze,
      like here:

      Thus if you have good links to images or videos of city and hills in the west of Damascus then let me know.

  16. You are very observant and correct about the rocket motor inner casing continuing into the warhead.
    I Should of said something like this. The rocket motor to warhead adapter plate is welded onto the outer rocket motor tube and allows the warhead to be bolted to the rocket motor. The rocket motor inner tube continues on and extends into the warhead receiving tube. This rocket motor inner tube is present in all referenced materials (videos/pictures)but not readily visible to the naked eye (except where the motor has snapped free from the warhead adapter plate) since it is contained within the warheads larger diameter mating tube. The warhead has a larger diameter tube (which is capped on its forward end) and is mounted by sliding it over the smaller diameter rocket motor inner tube and the two component are bolted together.

    I will attempt to put a few more pieces of this puzzle together. These are just assumptions based on limited info available.

    Ref; Syria Youtube Playlist; Syrian Government Chemical Attack linked-Videos 15, 16, 18, 21.
    1. I am not sure that the rocket motor extends all the way to the warhead nose. I believe the rocket motor ends about 6 to 12 inches short of the warhead nose assembly. There are a couple videos that show some components that may structurally connect the forward end of the capped rocket motor to the nose assembly and allow enough room for nose fuzing and booster/burster components.

    a. Video 18 show the only nose assembly I have seen. This may be the same type nose assembly that also goes on the UMLACA-HE warhead. Video 21 shows what appears to be HE being removed from the booster tube and there is no evidence of the forward end of the rocket motor in the damaged forward section of the warhead.

    (1). Video 18 show the nose assembly rear side has been exposed to explosive forces.
    (2). I have not seen any nose sections attached to functioned remains of the dispersal type UMLACA-UK warheads. I believe this is because the detonation of the nose fuze and booster/burster shear the nose assembly from the warhead support structure and eject the nose assembly/fuze forward. The fuze also may separately be ejected from the fuze well.
    (3). The forward portion of the warhead nose assembly shows a potential fuze well and/or adapter booster/burster well and it has two spanner slots.
    (4). Video 18 also shows what appears to be the missing chunk out of nose assembly and a possible fuze/component next to the guys foot.

    b. Video 16 shows what appears to the first piece in the rocket motor to nose assembly support structure. This cap is looks like it is placed over the end of the capped rocket motor and bolted and/or welded to the next component in video 15.

    c. Video 15 shows the next identifiable piece in the rocket motor to nose assembly support structure. This component is welded and/or bolted to the piece in video 16 and some how connected to the nose assembly.

    Enough for now. When I get more time I will give my best guess on a couple other pieces of this puzzle.

    1. Where on youtube can these videos be viewed?

    2. Look at the top right of this page under other links ; click the Syria Youtube Playlist link; then scroll down to Syrian Government Chemical Attack linked-Videos and click (24 videos on this link, I think), videos 15, 16, 18, 21 are my ref material. Also look at video 9 (I missed that video).

  17. BM - the NYT article is convinced that the CW were delivered by these barrel rockets.

    Do you think the UN inspectors will verify that or are you convinced they are all FAE bombs?

    I would think that if a UMLACA-CW was fired, it must have landed in a population center to cause such casualties and the videographer would clearly state that the round is related to the chemical attack.

    But there does not seem to be such an incriminating video for the barrel rocket?

  18. wave - there is an interesting US patent on the M130 similar to the UMLACA which has been linked to in an older article by a commenter. Check it out.

    The outer barrel skin is actually grooved in parallel lines as per the patent.

    I am also puzzled on where the primary dispersion charge may be. I believe it is wrapped around the center tube in the barrel. But there is no evidence of a chamber around the center tube, so how is the charge kept dry of the payload?

    So what I believe is happening is that the top barrel plate which no one has seen has a compartment where the charge resides and is easily connected to the fuze. It has the advantage that upon impact the charge will be below the payload causing it to disperse upward away from the ground, which is desirable. The grooving may be less pronounced at the top of the barrel so that upon contact, the lower part of the barrel flares first causing the payload to disperse in the direction of the rocket tail.

    Another possibility is that the detonator we have seen also includes the dispersion charge.

    1. Your description of this particular warheads basic functioning sequence is pretty solid. If you review the linked videos I listed you will be able to put some of the pieces together. The warhead nose assembly contains adapter components for the fuzing and burster. This area is just forward of the forward end of the capped rocket motor (apx distance of this space/void is 6 to 12 inches). This forward space/void area is where the burster is located and where the functioning/opening process starts ( fuze functions, burster initiated, expanding case start warhead skin separation and filler dispersal etc.).

    2. I never had any dealings with the M130 system. I did work on the CATFAE prototype system and some larger air delivered FAE prototype weapons. The air delivered (large) FAE prototype weapons were functioned in an arena type test environment. We would place the empty warhead in a support tower about 20 feet above the ground. We would fill the warhead with Propylene Oxide and then install the burster. The cloud detonators were placed on stakes at the appropriate height from the ground and distance from the warhead. Everything was then hooked up and fired from the safe area. This whole process took about 3 or 4 hours. The targets were earth revetted aircraft and building. These warheads functioned as designed and the damage to the targets was extensive.

  19. Khalid:
    "Nobody is denying that the huge launcher is for a different caliber weapon and not for the 333."

    I would debate that. By naming the small(333mm) rocket "UMLACA" and then following it with "A week after the alleged chemical attack in Damascus the following video was posted online, appearing to show one the UMLACAs being loaded and launched,"

    is certainly dishonest... willfully dishonest when this blog acknowledges that the munition being launched has NO connection to any rocket found at the CW sites, other than similar design.

    It is also dishonest to compare this launcher with the Falak. It's not any more or less like a Falak than any other tube launcher.

    It's important to get it right, especially when world leaders are resorting to blogs for their info. A report by two experts(Raytheon/MIT) has also tried to directly connect the video(BIG launcher) and smaller rockets.

    Lies of omission spread too.

  20. the Mysterious rocket for some ppl is not necessary to be like that for all ppl at least for the armies in all countries....

    this rocket is located here with all the details about it so they know about it but maybe you don't :
    and here:

    now the talk about the Sarin is just a try to make a war ,,, why??

    well the rocket is originally is a us design and they know all about it and how its work and all the side effects can be happened if this rocket fail to do what is built for

    Obama start talking about chemical a few month ago at a time there was no Claims about is, well he was there watching those American design rockets firing up and he is waiting one or some of them to do what his generals told him,,,

    those rockets as most of this type of rockets carrying Ethylene oxide as a fuel to be explode at the target area but if this operation failed and the Ethylene oxide spread out with out followed with Explosion to fire it up then this Ethylene oxide will cause a toxic cloud and will effect the human almost same way with chemicals :

    read the side effects at the end of the last link

    i copy it here : Ethylene oxide causes acute poisoning, accompanied by the following symptoms: slight heartbeat, muscle twitching, flushing, headache, diminished hearing, acidosis, vomiting, dizziness, transient loss of consciousness and a sweet taste in the mouth. Acute intoxication is accompanied by a strong throbbing headache, dizziness, difficulty in speech and walking, sleep disturbance, pain in the legs, weakness, stiffness, sweating, increased muscular irritability, transient spasm of retinal vessels, enlargement of the liver and suppression of its antitoxic functions.[109]

    Ethylene oxide easily penetrates through the clothing and footwear, causing skin irritation and dermatitis with the formation of blisters, fever and leukocytosis

    so Obama got what he was waiting for and the rocket failed and he want to start the war before the UN said THERE IS NO SARIN in those rockets !!!!!!!!!

    also copy from the same page ( wikipedia ) :
    Ethylene oxide is also used as a main component of thermobaric weapons (fuel-air explosives)
    more info about the FAE here:

    and this link to the original American version of those rockets :

    most of the links i copy and past from this site which is posted by many members but maybe no one stop and read them add to this site

    i think ppl should stop guessing and leave it to the UN investigators to say if there is a chemicals or NO!!!

    1. "sleep disturbance"?

      That's it! All those people in the hospitals laying in bed were asleep and the rebels claim they are dying from Sarin!

  21. Hi, I have translated the post because it is important to get this information also in Spanish, it can be found in my blog, but as I do stuff, I always put the places I get the information in first, so people can search the source I took the article. BTW, a question; in the article it is said that the opposition could not have done the attacks because they were occupied building their own DIY mortar, but what if they got it and made a decision to use it, as a kamikaze kind of twisted plan? not that i believe in it but, it could be something to think about it.

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  26. Brown Moses, can you please add the "UMLACA" tag to this post? Because currently it's missing and related to it very much.

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