The Origins of Mobile Medium-Range Surface-to-Air Missile Systems


Col. V.V. ASTRAKHOV (Ret), Candidate of Technical Sciences

Abstract. The author reviews the role and contribution of AA Defense Research Institute #2 in the creation of mobile surface-to-air medium-range missile systems.

Keywords: surface-to-air missile forces, surface-to-air missile defense, surface-to-air missile batteries (systems).

The most important milestone in the creation and development of Russia's antiaircraft defense was the Decree of the U.S.S.R. Council of Ministers of August 9, 1950, that laid the foundation for the national project of Moscow antiaircraft defense system, SA-1 Guild development (original Russian name - S-25 codename Berkut). The SA-1 antiaircraft defense system was put into service five years later, in 1955, by the CPSU Central Committee Decree #720-435 of April 14, and the U.S.S.R. Council of Ministers Decree #893-533 of May 7.

The SA-1 AA defense system could provide protection from the adversary's massive air strikes for Moscow and its suburbs only. The most important administrative, industrial, and military entities of the U.S.S.R. remained under protection of antiaircraft gun artillery systems. Copying Moscow defense system could constitute a logical way to develop a modern AA defense system for the most important cities and industrial districts of the U.S.S.R. In 1956, the Design Department (DD-1), led by Chief Designer A.A. Raspletin, was given the task to develop an AA defense system for Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) on the basis of the SA-1 firepower. However, contrary to that of Moscow, the SA-1 units in this system were put in one ring.

But the proposed system's cost was too high. Moreover, according to military experts, major shortcoming of the SA-1 system was its stationarity, consisting in immobility of the system's assets and combat arcs of fire (±30° relative to fixed sector bisector), thus limiting the AA defense systems formation and increasing their cost.

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At the same time, even before the works on the development of the SA-1 surface-to-air missile (SAM) system ...

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