Evolving Strike Capability: Unveiling the Houthi Quds Cruise Missiles

Explore the Houthi Quds-3 Cruise Missile’s specifications and its impact on Yemen’s strike range. A deep dive into a weapon that’s reshaping the conflict dynamics in the region.

Evolving Strike Capability: Unveiling the Houthi Quds Cruise Missiles

The Houthi Quds cruise missile family has a few variants which have been deployed in Yemen. Here’s a summary of the specifications and characteristics of the Quds-1 and Quds-2 cruise missiles:

Quds-1 Cruise Missile:

Quds-1 was the first cruise missile deployed by the Houthis. It has a range of 800 km.

• Type: Land-attack cruise missile.
• Design: The missile could be a copy of the Iranian Soumar missile or the Russian Kh-55, albeit with significant differences in booster design, wing position, nose cone shape, aft fuselage shape, and engine cover and exhaust shape.
• Mass: 450 KG.
• Engine: An unlicensed copy of the TJ-100 turbojet produced by PBS Velká Bíteš in Czechia.
• Guidance System: TERCOM navigation system.
• Range: The range of the Quds-1 is described as significantly smaller than the Iranian Soumar missile due to having less room aboard for fuel and being a ground-launched rather than an air-launched cruise missile .

Quds-2 Cruise Missile:

Quds-2 cruise missile, likely the Iranian Soumar, has a range of 1,350 km.

• Type: A more advanced version of the Quds-1 with higher speed and range. It was first apparently used against an oil facility in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia in November 2020 .

Quds-3 Cruise Missile Specifications:

• Design Origin: The Quds-3 cruise missile is believed to be a longer-range variant of the Iranian Soumar cruise missile, which in turn is derived from Soviet-era air-launched Kh-55 cruise missiles acquired from Ukraine in the late 1990s .
• Engine: Like its predecessors, the Quds-3 is powered by a small turbojet engine. The engine appears to be similar to the TJ100 but is believed to be a copy, as it has never been exported to Iran or its allies .
• Flight Characteristics: The Quds cruise missiles are programmed to fly at a low level and have demonstrated effective radar avoidance capability. They are designed to perform precision attacks on a pre-programmed location based on the target coordinates. A solid propellant booster is used to achieve initial velocity, which is separated once the missile achieves its cruising velocity .
• Size and Range: The Quds-3 is larger compared to its predecessors, capable of flying over a longer range due to a larger missile diameter that allows it to carry a larger fuel tank and warhead. While the exact range was not disclosed by the Houthis, it is believed to be longer than the 1,350 km range of Quds-2, with some speculating that the range of Quds-3 could be three times that of Quds-1, which has a range of 700 to 800 km .
• Operational Use: The Quds-3, like other missiles in the Quds family, is used by the Houthi movement for precision attacks against specific targets. The missile was displayed in a military parade in Sanaa, Yemen, showcasing the new ballistic, cruise, and loitering missiles possessed by the Houthis .

• Quds-4: The latest addition to the Quds cruise missile family, though specifics on how it differs from previous versions were not provided. Terminal guidance has apparently been added to two further Quds variants .

Operational Use:

• The Quds cruise missiles have been used by the Houthi movement in Yemen, who claim to have developed them independently, although some sources dispute this and suggest Iranian involvement. The missiles are designed for land-attack roles and have been used in attacks against Saudi Arabia and possibly other targets in the region .

Evolving Capabilities:

• The Houthi’s evolving long-range strike capabilities through the Quds series of land-attack cruise missiles supplied by Iran have been noted, with some systems capable of reaching southern Israel when fired from Houthi-controlled territory in northern Yemen .

These specifications and the operational use of Quds cruise missiles underscore the evolving missile capabilities of the Houthi movement in Yemen. While the exact specifications like speed, length, diameter, and flight altitude of the Quds cruise missiles remain unknown, their development and deployment reflect a significant enhancement in the Houthi’s military arsenal.