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9M36 Buk SA-11 Gadfly

Type: Surface -to- Air
Year: 1983
Range (km): 3- 32
Ceiling (km): 0.015- 22
Weight (kg): 690
Lenght (m): 5.55
Speed (m/sec): 900 (3 M)
Type of seeker: -
Weight of warhead: 70 kg
Number of missiles: 4


The rapid development of electronic and optronic reconnaissance systems, battle-management and high-precision weapon control systems, as well as electronic countermeasures and other systems has resulted in the concentration of large amounts of electronic and optronic systems in troops which often duplicate one another and affect electromagnetic compatibility considerably increasing the cost of a force grouping. This is why it is expedient to consider the possibility of broadening the scope of tasks fulfilled by offensive or defensive armaments.

By way of example one can take the modernization of the Buk-M1-2 air defense medium-range missile system, carried out by the Instrument-Making Research Institute within a short period of time. As a result of the modernization, an antiaircraft system has acquired properties of an antimissile system capable of destroying tactical ballistic missiles, air-launched missiles and bombs, and antiradar missiles. Buk-M1-2 can destroy naval ships out to a range of about 25 kilometers and land-based radio-contrast targets, including large command posts, tactical ballistic missile control posts, aircraft on airfields, bridges and other facilities. Fig.1 shows the system’s engagement envelope for various types of targets.

Fig.1 Target Engagement Envelope

Thus, the medium-range antiaircraft missile system has turned into a reconnaissance and defensive system. However, in our view, the capabilities of Buk-M1-2 have not yet been fully tapped and can further be expanded within a short period of time at customer request.

As Buk-M1-2 is a highly mobile system featuring remarkable combat capabilities in action against a wide range of targets flying at various ranges and altitudes, it is most suited for shielding front-line aviation airfields, including those using highways.

Should the system’s command post be upgraded appropriately, its capabilities in detecting air targets and determining their coordinates with high accuracy would be enhanced materially allowing the system to be used, in addition to its dedicated application, for the flight control and fighter aircraft direction until the arrival and installation of basic flight control facilities. Usually, aircraft flight control involves plenty of various equipment, above all radars, characterized by low mobility.

Studies conducted at NIIP have revealed the possibility of using the Buk-M1-2 system to establish coordinates of enemy artillery and tactical ballistic missile positions by extending flight trajectories of projectiles (mortar shells) and missiles calculated by the system.

The above capabilities can also be broadened via upgrading only its software.

Air situation data collection, especially under electronic countermeasures, requires the use of all radar facilities supplied by air defense missile systems and radar data processing points located at a superior command post, which impairs emanations security. It is known that the jamming signals not only reduce radar operating range but also distort the data generated by it. The Vega radar system built on the basis of the Orion passive radar is capable of generating the target designation data and transmitting it to an ADM system command post, identifying the type or class of major piloted air threats while keeping radio silence. Data exchanges between Vega and Buk-M1-2 will not require any serious updates of Buk’s command post.

The efficiency of the Buk-M1-2 system in defeating naval ships and land-based radio-contrast targets was confirmed by missile launches at a mine sweeper and at a Tupolev Tu-16 aircraft and tactical ballistic missile launchers. The system’s killing range depends not only on its characteristics but also on the type and location of a target and on the location of the system itself.

For example, large vertical dimensions of ships (superstructures, hull height, etc.) and the elevation of the coastline above sea level by 10 to 30 or more meters, make it possible to move the radio horizon 25 to 30 kilometers farther in the surface surveillance mode and destroy ships at a distance of up to 25 kilometers. At the same time, a surface ship carries armaments, including cruise missiles, ballistic missiles and other kinds of offensive weapons, which can be destroyed by the system’s missiles. These weapons can be engaged by Buk in self-defense or when they are used against friendly troops and military installations.

Such air-launched missiles and guided aerial bombs as Maverick and Walleye can be engaged both in self-defense and when used against friendly forces. Antiradiation missiles are normally engaged in self-defense or when used against other friendly air defense missile systems (various sensors or other systems engaging other targets at the moment).

Compared to surface targets, ground targets are more difficult to destroy mainly due to the diffuse reflections from the flat underlying surface (fields, the steppe, meadows and so on), and powerful reflections from local structures and objects (houses, hills, remains of combat materiel and armaments on the battlefield) which themselves are radio-contrast targets, i.e. a source of powerful interference that requires updating missile guidance algorithms.


Effective air defense can be built only if an air defense grouping includes various systems in terms of their assignment, characteristics and organic identity. As a rule, these are close-in, short, medium and long range systems, with surface-to-air missile (SAM) systems being the mainstay of such a grouping.

The first highly mobile Russian SAM system of this class was the famous Kub (Kvadrat) system developed by the Tikhomirov Instrument-Making Research Institute in the 1960s. Its fate was lucky. It repeatedly confirmed its high effectiveness in real combat conditions, i.e., in military conflicts of various intensity. In the 1970s and 1980s, the Instrument-Making Research Institute developed the Buk SAM system and its version - the Buk-M1. In 1998 it completed the next modernization of this system by developing the Buk-M1-2. (Leading developer of the Kub and Buk SAM systems has been the Ulyanovsk Mechanical Plant.) This system is a multipurpose firing asset. Beside air targets, it is capable of engaging overland and waterborne radar and TV contrast pinpoint targets. In addition, its engagement zone was expanded, jamming immunity increased, and the engagement of tactical ballistic missiles was ensured.

With a considerable engagement envelope in slant range, altitude and horizontal range, the unique feature of the Buk system and all its versions is that a combat mission can be executed by an individual firing unit Š the self-propelled mount (SPM). This quality ensures the surprise of air target engagement from ambushes and the independent change of firing positions, which substantially increases the SPM survivability.

The SPM is essentially a tracked chassis that carries a radar and a launcher with four missiles. The arrangement of the radar and the missile launcher on one rigid platform allows their simultaneous laying in azimuth and elevation with the aid of an electrohydraulic drive. The 9A310M1-2 SPM also comprises a digital computer system, a TV optical sight, a laser range finder, navigation and communications equipment, an IFF interrogator, a built-in simulator and documentation equipment.

During combat operation, the SPM detects a target, determines its IFF status, automatically tracks the target and identifies its type, computes the flight mission and launch assignment, launches a missile, transmits radio correction commands to the missile and evaluates the firing results.

The SPM can engage targets as part of an air defense missile complex with target designation data transmitted from the command post or independently within an assigned sector of responsibility. Targets can be engaged by missiles launched from the SPM or from an attached loader-launcher (LL).

The 9A310M1-2 SPM can fire standard 9M38M1 missiles or new 9M317 missiles (developed by the Dolgoprudny Research and Production Enterprise).

The concealment of SPM operation has been improved owing to the introduction of a laser range finder which together with the TV optical sight ensures passive direction finding of overland and waterborne targets.

The modified software of the digital computer system ensures the optimal angles of missile flight to a target, thereby minimizing the effect of the underlying surface on the missile homing head.

To increase the effectiveness of the missile warhead in engaging waterborne (overland) targets, the radio fuze is disconnected and the contact fuze is connected instead.

A new operating mode, the 'coordinate support,' is introduced to improve the jamming immunity of the system. In this mode, use is made of range coordinates obtained from other assets of the system to engage an active jammer. So, the number of channels for firing at an active jammer is increased twofold, compared to the previously used triangulation mode which required the employment of two SPMs.

The 9A310M1-2 SPM is interfaced with the assets of the Kub system (known abroad as Kvadrat, or SA-6). In this case the Kub can simultaneously engage two targets instead of one. One engagement channel comprises the 9A310M1-2 SPM with the attached 2P25 self-propelled launcher, while the other channel is organic, including the 1S91 acquisition and guidance radar with attached 2P25 self-propelled launchers.

The characteristics of the 9A310M1-2 SPM are presented in the table.

In recent years, the Instrument-Making Research Institute and partner companies successfully carried out research and development to further upgrade the air defense missile system as a whole and its individual elements.

The main features of SPM modernization include:

- increased number of simultaneously engaged targets owing to the use of a phased array antenna;

- enhanced jamming immunity due to the adaptation of the phased array antenna beam to tactical and ECM environments;

- augmented radar effectiveness by increasing the transmitter output power and the sensitivity of the SHF receiver (new electronic device);

- employment of high-speed computers and modern digital signal processing.

The modernized SPM with the phased array antenna can be interfaced with the Buk-M1-2 equipment; as a result, the number of simultaneously engaged targets can be increased from 6 to 10, and even 12.


The continuous development of air attack weapons demands a thorough upgrading of surface-to-air missiles. Considering the fact that modern air defense missile systems must engage not only aerodynamic targets (fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft as well as cruise missiles) but also tactical ballistic missiles and precision-guided munitions, the Buk-M1 SAM system has been modernized by introducing a new missile, the 9M317, which was developed by the Dolgoprudny Research and Production Enterprise.

The creation of the Buk-M1-2 SAM system made it possible to substantially improve its performance characteristics and the system potential in order to fight advanced targets.

The 9M317 SAM was developed as a unified weapon for the air defense protection of ground forces and naval ships. It can engage tactical ballistic missiles, strategic and tactical aircraft (including those maneuvering with a load factor of up to 12 g), cruise missiles, attack helicopters (including those hovering at low altitudes), remotely piloted vehicles and antiship missiles in heavy ECM environments, as well as radar contrast waterborne and overland targets.

The 9M317 missile, compared to the 9M38M1 missile incorporated into the Buk-M1 system, has an extended engagement envelope of up to 45 km in slant range and up to 25 km in altitude and horizontal range, as well as a broader range of targets which can be engaged.

The missile design makes it possible to adapt the guidance system and armament of the missile to the type of target (ballistic target, aerodynamic target, helicopter, pinpoint target, waterborne/overland target) after it has been identified and to increase the kill probability. The design of the missile onboard equipment and system facilities enables firing at radar contrast waterborne and overland targets and their direct hit defeat. This missile can engage targets flying at extremely low altitudes.

The generalized cost-effectiveness ratio indicates that in this respect the 9M317 missile is absolutely unrivaled in the world and wonÕt be outperformed by competitor models until the end of the first decade of the next century.

The relative coefficients of weight perfection, power-to-weight ratio and payload attained during missile development has made it possible to acknowledge the design execution of the 9M317 SAM as a basic standard whose comparison with other items will help estimate the level of technical progress.

The completely assembled and armed missile is explosion-proof and does not require checks and adjustments within its entire service life.

The missile is highly reliable, and its 10-year service life can be prolonged after going through special operations.

The high effectiveness, versatility and use potential of the 9M317 SAM has been confirmed through rigorous field and firing exercises.

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