The Scud is a Soviet guided, mobile, Ground-to-Ground ballistic missile system. The initial system, the Scud-A, was developed by the Russian design bureau, Makeyev OKB.
Based on the German World War II rocket, the V-2, the Scud has a reputation of being highly inaccurate and unreliable. Given its mobility and long-range inaccuracy, the Scud served as the nuclear power base of the Soviet army frontal units.

The Soviet leading Scud, was the Scud-B, and it carried nuclear warheads. From the late 1960's to the mid 1980's, the Soviets exported non-nuclear versions of the Scud-B to many of the countries of the Warsaw pact, and many outside of it, mainly in the Middle East and Asia.

As a result of the subsidized export of the Scud-B during the Cold War, many developing countries, neglected by the US Foreign Policy, are now in possession of the Scud in its different versions. Countries such as: North Korea, Libya, Syria, Iraq and China, all have a considerable amount of Scud missiles, and research programs based upon it.

The different versions of the Scud carry different kinds of warheads.
The Soviet versions are:

The Scud has been an important element in the Middle Eastern conflict, being the the chief weapon of many Muslim countries involved in the conflict, and their only answer to Israel's superior long-range capabilities.

Iraq has long been developing its long-range capabilities.
During the late 1980's, it had modified its own Soviet-supplied Scud-B's to produce the 600 kilometer-range AL-Hussein and AL-Hijarah missiles, and the 900 kilometer-range AL-Abbas missile. During the Gulf War, Iraq had launched 88 Al-Hussein and AI-Hijarah missiles against Israel and Saudi Arabia.

Syria has its own stock of North Korean Scud C's.
Recent satellite images, published in the Israeli newspapers, suggest Syria has already deployed the missiles, and that they're operational, including their Chemical warheads. Of the Arabic nations Syria is the most involved in the conflict with Israel, and the large quantity of Chemical Scuds in Syrian hands, keeps a sort of Balance of Power in the region.

The Scud also played an important role in the brewing of the Yom Kippur War. Egypt's military build up, for the surprise invasion of Israel, was awed by the Aerial superiority of the Israeli air force (the IAF). A superiority to which the Egyptians had no answer of their own. They turn to the Soviets, who have been sponsoring and guiding the build up, for help. They asked for the most advanced Soviet plane in those days, the MiG-23. The Soviets were reluctant to give away their top secret, elite plane, and instead supplied the Egyptians with long-range Scud missiles in addition to a large quantity of ground-to-air SAM missile batteries.
While the advanced SAM batteries were highly efficient and accurate in thwarting the Israeli planes from bombing the hordes of Egyptians infantry and armored vehicles, pouring over the Suez Canal, the Scuds served as a strategic weapon, and a phsycological deterent for the IAF from a strike against defenceless populated areas, deep in the heart of Egypt. As a result of the SAM and Scud missiles the IAF was disabled, and had very little impact on the war.

  • Nuclear forces guide -
  • Missile resources -
  • The Macmillan Encyclopedia 2001 -

The militaristic sense of the word "scud" seems to have largely superceded the older meaning of scud in popular parlance. Today it may be only sailors and meteorologists who commonly use scud in its other sense: to run or move swiftly, as a sailboat running before a gale with little or no sail set, or as low clouds beneath another cloud layer speeding along the horizon.

Scud (?), v. i. [imp. & p. p. Scudded; p. pr. & vb. n. Scudding.] [Dan. skyde to shoot, shove, push, akin to skud shot, gunshot, a shoot, young bough, and to E. shoot. &root;159. See Shoot.]


To move swiftly; especially, to move as if driven forward by something.

The first nautilus that scudded upon the glassy surface of warm primeval oceans. I. Taylor.

The wind was high; the vast white clouds scudded over the blue heaven. Beaconsfield.

2. Naut.

To be driven swiftly, or to run, before a gale, with little or no sail spread.


© Webster 1913.

Scud, v. t.

To pass over quickly.




© Webster 1913.

Scud, n.


The act of scudding; a driving along; a rushing with precipitation.


Loose, vapory clouds driven swiftly by the wind.

Borne on the scud of the sea. Longfellow.

The scud was flying fast above us, throwing a veil over the moon. Sir S. Baker.


A slight, sudden shower.

[Prov. Eng.]


4. Zool.

A small flight of larks, or other birds, less than a flock.

[Prov. Eng.]

5. Zool.

Any swimming amphipod crustacean.

Storm scud. See the Note under Cloud.


© Webster 1913.

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