Let’s Have A Look At Ballistic Missile Allegedly Used In Recent Attacks On US bases in Iraq and Syria

Al-Aqsa 1
Islamic Resistance in Iraq’s new missile is thought to be intended for striking American bases in Syria and Iraq (Photo: @SAMSyria0 via Twitter)

Islamic Resistance in Iraq has recently released images of its Al-Aqsa 1 medium range ballistic missile claiming it was used to strike US bases in Syria and Iraq.

On Nov. 6, 2023, the Islamic Resistance in Iraq (المقاومة الإسلامية في العراق, al-Moqawamat al-Islamiat fi al-Iraq) released an image of its new Al-Aqsa 1 (الأقصى 1) missile. The group is a Sunni Islamist insurgency group fighting against US forces within Iraq. Recently the militants have launched rocket and drone attacks on U.S. bases in Syria and Iraq.

As of now only the single image has been released and no further figures are available. However, the missile seems to share many of its components from other, more commonly known platforms it is possible to make a rough estimate of its performance.

The Al-Aqsa 1 seems to utilise parts from previously known missiles such as the BM-250. While it is easy to think that the missile in question is a Fateh 110, the cropped delta rear fins suggest the missile is more closely related to the BM-120/BM-250 family. Although it is hard to determine the relative size of the Al-Aqsa 1, it appears that the missile closely resembles the BM-250 in design. From the front guide fins to the twin set of rear fins, the Al-Aqsa 1 shares most parts from the BM-250. However, the nosecone on the Al-Aqsa 1 is a rounder composite-type component rather than the more metallic sharp nosecone shared on the BM-120 and BM-250.

This suggests a lower flight velocity and possibility of a different guidance system other than the current GLONASS based GNSS system. In general, the Fateh 110, BM-120, BM-250, BM-300, BM-440 are all scaled variants of one another. Thus, it is hard to determine the Al-Aqsa’s size and range without a means of scaling the missile. For reference, the BM-120 has a range of 120km, the BM-250 250km, and the Fateh 110 300km.

While it can be expected that the Al Aqsa 1 will also have a range between 200 ~ 300 km, an exact figure can only be calculated once further reference images of the missile is released.

Meanwhile, the Islamic Resistance in Iraq claimed three separate missile and one-way drone attacks targeting US forces at Ain al Assad airbase in western Iraq on Nov. 9, 2023. The group released a video showing it launching two drones and three missiles. The missiles bared visual similarities to the group’s al-Aqsa 1 missile unveiled on Nov. 6.

About Wonwoo Choi
Wonwoo is a student journalist and contributor to The Aviationist based in London, United Kingdom. Currently studying MEng in Aeronautical Engineering with a keen interest in OSINT, plane spotting and aircraft design. He is a former Sergeant of the Republic of Korea Army, having served as an artillery Fire Direction Centre Vehicle Radio Operator.