Picture Stories from Earth: Bid Kaneh

The world, or at least, the US part of it, has become more concerned with the progress of the Iranian nuclear program. The most recent IAEA report saying that Iran is close to a breakout capability. That is, they are near the point at which they have everything they need, and they need only make the final decision to have a bomb

Political and economic actions having seemingly failed, the US, and possibly its allies, like Israel, have started to use more active measures. Some of these are quiet cyber-attacks (like last year’s stuxnet worm), some are more direct wet work (the probable assasination of several key Iranian scientists), and some appear to be straightforward sabotage, like this weeks destruction of an Iranian missile facility near Bid Kaneh by the explosion of one of the missiles. The facility is reportedly associated with the Shihab-3 MRBM, which is an Iranian copy of the North Korean No-Dong missile, which can trace its roots back to the Soviet Scud-B, and ultimately to the V-2.

The facility itself appears to be a typical high security research installation, not an operational military base. It was first identifiable on Google Earth imagery of 2003, and remained essentially unchanged until the spring of 2010.

Bid Kaneh in 2003


Note the double security fence, and the controlled entry point in the northeast corner.

Bid Kaneh in 2011

In the spring of 2010 a number of new buildings were added, including a new high-bay extension to one of the original buildings, and a large, arched-roofed building in the NW corner. A new motor pool area in the SE corner appears to have two or three long bed trucks, possilby for missile trasnport. The new additions stand out because they all have bright blue roofs.

Zooming in to the blue-roofed building in the NW corner, the one that apparently exploded, we can see some sort of metal cylinder parked outside, with a crane that’s manipulating what looks like a couple of spherical tanks, possibly for fuel/oxidizer storage. (It’s two objects, and not one with a shadow, because the shadows of the buildings fall in a different direction).

Closeup of the test building

The defense industry website DefenseTech has an interesting photo story on the explosion incident, from which the following two pictures are extracted.

Before and after photos of the Iranian missile facility at Bid Kaneh

The explosion apparently took place in the blue-roofed building at upper left, the one that is missing in the second photo. Reportedly, there was a “volatile test” in progress (the Shihab is a liquid-fueled vehicle). Buildings in the NW corner are totally destroyed. Buildings in the center part of the facility are severely damaged, with missing roofs and walls. There are now six long-bed trucks in the motor pool area.

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2 Responses to “Picture Stories from Earth: Bid Kaneh”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    In the lower left corner of the “After Photo”, you can see part of three large ladder-like metallic structures that are flatly lying on the ground and thinly covered with soil or dirt. The steps of these ladders are exactly 10 meters apart, that is, the length of each ladder is 100 meters.

    These structures can be erected vertically to provide support for a long object.

    • FoundOnWeb Says:

      I think I see what you’re talking about (there’s a curved trail that goes towards them), but I’m not sure they are ladders. If you go to Google Earth, the objects are there all the way back to 2003 (you have to zoom in). My guess is that they are the remnants of much earlier buildings. If we had eighteen or twenty-eight years worth of imagery, instead of eight, we could tell, but GE doesn’t go back that far.

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