Apparently older stuff, but they say some of it looked pretty new.
ZUWAD KHALAF, Iraq — As the piles of missiles and rockets dug from the desert floor grew, smiles on soldiers’ faces turned to scowls of serious concern.
Working on a tip from an informant, soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division on Tuesday dug up more than a thousand aging rockets and missiles wrapped in plastic, some of which had been buried as recently as two weeks ago, Army officials said.
“This is the mother lode, right here,” Sgt. Jeremy Galusha, 25, of Dallas, Ore., said, leaning on a shovel after uncovering more than 20 Soviet missiles.
As the sun set Tuesday, soldiers continued to uncover more, following zigzagging tire tracks across the desert floor and using metal detectors to locate weapons including mines, mortars and machine gun rounds.
But the growing piles of missiles and rockets were of primary concern for the soldiers in Iraq, where bombs made with loose ordinance by insurgents are the preferred method to target coalition forces.
“In our eyes, every one of these rockets represents one less IED,” said 2nd Lt. Patrick Vardaro, 23, of Norwood, Mass., a platoon leader in the division’s 187th Infantry Regiment.
Vardaro would not comment on whether there were signs the caches had been used recently to make bombs, but the service records accompanying the missiles dated to 1984, suggesting they were buried by the Iraqi military under Saddam Hussein.
Still, the plastic around some of the rockets — of Soviet, German and French origins — appeared to be fresh and had not deteriorated as it had on some of the older munitions.
I wouldn't be that shocked if they were newer. Post-embargo and such. Since French, Russian, and German politicians were on Saddam's payroll.
Also, of interest (from a Pro-US French blog). Although it's apparently somewhat off since germany did sell Saddam weapons.