Several interesting videos of rockets of the general design used on Aug. 21 in East Ghouta have appeared in recent months that are deserving of analysis. I will cover another video in my next post. The first video is here:
This purports to be a “Volcano” “Hezbollah” rocket according to the description on YouTube. Elliot Higgins has identified this as a common name for the design of rocket used in the Aug. 21st sarin attack. It has been theorized that at least two versions of this rocket exist: a high explosive version and a chemical version. They are also in different sizes. We know from at least one video than rebels have captured the smaller version of this rocket design and did so prior to the August 2013 Sarin use in Syria. I have theorized on this blog that there is a fuel-air or thermobaric version of this rocket.
In my view, the most important aspect of the video is the destruction and the sounds. First, the collapse of the building is consistent with a fuel air or thermobaric explosion, but is not conclusive. Fuel-air explosives or thermobaric explosives are very effective at collapsing buildings, and Elliot Higgins noted that rebel forces in Homs said that Hezbollah deployed rockets that could collapse buildings, and they were of a similar design.
The sounds are the most important evidence in the video.
Replay the video and listen carefully. At :09-:10, we see the rocket flying through the air. We can visually see the impact at :10-:11. Then, we have about a one second delay, and we hear four consecutive explosive sounds. The first three explosive sounds appear to have no effect on the buildings and almost no visual evidence (the rocket clearly landed inside the building and out of view), except after the third explosive sound we can see some type of smoke or vapor coming out of one of the windows. The fourth and final explosive sound is by far the largest and longest, and we can see clear evidence of the shock wave from the fourth explosion reaching nearby buildings. The fourth explosion also causes the targeted building to collapse.
To me, this video appears to show a rocket with a timed fuse rather than an impact fuse, and the rocket contains a fuel-air or thermobaric explosive.
There is a clear delay after impact before the first explosive sound.
It is likely the first explosive charge is used the open the cylindrical explosive end of the rocket containing the explosive mixture, which could be liquid or powder. This thin-walled and riveted metal of the known design is weak to allow it to rupture and open easily.
The second explosive is likely designed to further spread and mix the explosive slurry or powder into the air. It is designed to explode early enough to avoid premature detonation of the explosive mixture. If timed right, the explosive powder or slurry will not be properly mixed with oxygen to cause detonation at this point.
The third explosive is intended to initiate explosion of the explosive mixture at the optimal time – when the explosive cloud has reached an ideal size and oxygen ratio for explosive effect. The third explosive initiates the explosion, and fourth and final sound we hear is the detonation of the mixture.
The result is devastating – it creates a large shock wave and the building collapses.