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Scud vs. Patriot missiles

Unlike any conflict before, the Gulf War of 1991 played out in a brave new world of biological warfare. A round-the-clock television audience was captivated by the flying missiles that lit up the night sky. Canadian troops, sent abroad for combat for the first time since the Korean War joined the Allied forces to fight Iraq's invasion of Kuwait. On the surface, the occupation ended swiftly and decisively as the Iraqi forces retreated. But as was evident over the next decade, the problems remained unresolved.

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On the second day of the war, Iraq launches a Scud missile at Israel. As the coalition forces urge Israel not to retaliate, many wonder exactly how far these missiles can travel. With more warheads rumoured to be aimed at Israel and other coalition force bases, CBC Radio looks at the science behind the Soviet-designed Scud missile, the range of the Patriot missile and the effects of nerve and mustard gas.
. Iraq fired dozens of missiles at Israel during the Gulf War. The coalition forces feared that if Israel retaliated the attack would incite already sensitive Arab-Israeli issues, changing the dynamic of the war.
. The Scud missiles did heavy damage to residential neighbourhoods in Israel, however only one person's death was attributed to the attacks. The person died of a heart attack.

. The Soviet-designed Scud missile was developed in the 1960s. The missile was built to transport a 100-kiloton nuclear warhead or a 2,000 pound conventional warhead with a maximum range of 180 miles. The Iraqis' modified design allowed for greater range but limited accuracy.
Medium: Radio
Program: Sunday Morning
Broadcast Date: Jan. 19, 1991
Guest(s): Dr. Anthony Cordesman
Host: Jay Ingram
Duration: 10:09

Last updated: February 3, 2012

Page consulted on September 10, 2014

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