ACW readers love to analyze photographs and foreign missiles so I thought I would have a little contest: identifying components of the Safir second stage engine. I’ve been staring at a couple of images of the reverse side of the Safir second stage for a couple of days now trying to make sense of it (especially when compared to the test stand version I discussed quite a while ago!)They really do not look like the same thing to me. Here is a comparison between the two “reverse sides”:

click on the image for a larger version

The “test stand” item is on the left, the “display item” is on the right”

For one thing, there seems to me to be too much “stuff” in central compartment for it to be only a turbopump that feeds two engines on the underside of the test stand version. Of course, the test stand item’s “protective cylinder” is longer and therefore can hide more. But, even still, the propellant pipes are arranged differently. I’m sure ACW readers will see other interesting things about this comparison.

However, even if I cannot make any sense of it, the combined might of the ACW readership should be able to! So I thought I’d make it into a contest. In the picture below (which ACW reader Tal Inbar sent me), I have zoomed up on the business end of the reverse side and tagged some of the visible components with numbers. On the side, I have listed some of the possibilities. Of course, there might be other possibilities. And nobody says that all the possibilities listed have to be visible. But it’s a starting place.

click on the image for a larger version

I’ll buy the winner a beer if we are ever in the same city. Of course, I won’t be deciding on the winner. You readers will have to decide who makes the most sense.