The missile development program in the UAR Egypt (episode 1960 - 1967)

-- based on German WW-II technology --

Norbert Brügge, Germany

Update: 08.02.2019





In 1958, Gamal Abdel Nasser, started the missile development program, the same year he launched an ambitious domestic transformation plan and a drive for leadership of the Arab world. In this spirit of Pan-Arabism, Egypt and Syria partnered to form the short-lived United Arab Republic (UAR), embarking upon an ambitious military industrialization program. Egypt turned to unemployed German scientists and technicians to spearhead its missile efforts, most significantly Wolfgang Pilz, Paul Goercke and Wolfgang Kleinwaechter. The trio arrived in 1960 armed with designs based on  early French  rockets as well as German A-4 and "Wasserfall" rockets.
Although by the departure of the Germans in 1962 resulted in a loss of expertise, Egypt's missile program had already succeeded in developing prototypes. Thus in early 1962, Egypt's first missiles entered the prototype test phase, and in 1962 the government announced that it had successfully test-fired two differently missiles, were fires at a desert range on July 21, 1962.
On 23 July 1962, in connection with the celebration of the 10th anniversary of the Egyptian revolution, the UAR Egypt displayed rockets of two different sizes as technological achievement.

The smaller missile is the
Al Kaher-1. It is believed to be a single stage, liquid fueled, unguided rocket, developed on base the French Veronique rocket design. It has a simple wrapped-sheet airframe, with conical nose, flared skirt and four fixed fins. The Al Kaher-1 is about 9 m long; the core diameter is 0.80 m; the conical engine bay is widened to ~1.2 m.  The Al Kaher-1 used either directly the engine from German "Wasserfall" missile or the French EOLE rocket. Propellants were Alcohol / LOX.
The Al-Kaher 1, when first displayed in the July 1962 parade were transported rather simply on standard commercial vehicles. By the July 1963 parade, however, several improvements had been made. Four jet vanes were evident at the rear of the rocket motor. Also, two of six Al Kaher-1 displayed were mounted on mobile erector-launchers.


The larger missile, showed on parade in 1962, is the Al Kaher-3. It is believed to be a single stage, liquid fueled, unguided rocket. The mock-up of this missile appeared similar to a changed German A-4 missile, probably with an A-4 "Ofen"engine and typical jet vanes equipped. It is estimate a diameter of 1.4 m of the tanks. The rocket is also shorter than an German A-4. Characteristic are the flared skirt at the engine bay and four fixed fins. Propellants were Alcohol / LOX. It was announced  that the Al Kaher-3  had been successfully tested.

Not shown on the parade -- but twice already in flight tested on July 21, 1962 -- was the
Al Kaher-2. It is believed to be a single stage, liquid fueled, unguided rocket developed on base the U.S. Viking sounding rocket technology. It was about 12 m long and had a continuous diameter of about 1.2 m. Noticeable are delta-shaped fins, much like the at the U.S. Viking.
The engine was taken either directly by the German "Wasserfall" missile or the French EOLE. Possibly it was an improved engine XLR-10-RM2 from the U.S. Viking sounding rocket (93 kN thrust). Propellants were Alcohol / LOX.

The next year, during its July 23, 1963 military parade, Egypt displayed four larger
Al Raed missiles. Egyptian officials described the Al Raed as a "space research rocket". The paraded mock-up appeared similar to Al Kaher-3 missile as first stage and a Al Kaher-1 missile as the second stage. It was announced that Al Raed had been successfully tested. However, the Egyptians never showed footage of an Al Raed launch.

During the Six-Day War in 1967 Nasser's missiles Al Zafer and Al Kaher played no role in the conflict. While Egypt may have launched some missiles during the early stages of the war, they proved to be of no military consequence. Egyptians considered the failure to employ either the Al Zafer or the Al Kaher as scandalous.

In 1970-1971 Egypt takes out of storage and test fires again Al Zafer and Al Kaher missiles in preparation for plans to recapture the Sinai Peninsula. During the Otober 1973 Yom Kippur War, Egypt then has used all of its Al Zafer and Al Kaher missiles.


Al Zafer

 (German "Pilz-Rakete" technology ?)


Al Zafer based on the German "Pilz-Rakete" ?



Al Kaher-1 (1962)





Al Kaher-1 (1963)

 (German Wasserfall / French EOLE ?)


Al Kaher-2

 (U.S. Viking technology ?)


Al Kaher-2 presentation and test

Size comparison between Viking and Al Kaher-2

Operational Al-Kaher-2

U.S. Viking engine XLR10-RM-2
 (German "Wasserfall" origin)

Al Kaher-3

(German A-4 technology)

Al Kaher-3 mock-up on parade; probably a changed German A-4

Al Kaher-3, probably with an A-4 "Ofen"engine and its typical jet vanes equipped


Al Raed

Al Kaher-3 + Al Kaher-1


Formerly secret Western statements, but confused