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Medium-range air defense missile system


The Buk air defense system is in service with a number of countries

Entered service 1980
Crew 4 men
Dimensions and weight
Weight 34 t
Length 9.3 m
Width 3.25 m
Height 3.8 m
Missile length 5.5 m
Missile diameter 0.4 m
Missile weight 685 kg
Warhead weight 70 kg
Warhead type HE-FRAG
Range of fire 3.4 - 20.5 km
Altitude 25 km
Number of missiles 4
Engine diesel
Engine power 710 hp
Maximum road speed 65 km/h
Range 500 km
Gradient 60%
Side slope 30%
Vertical step ~ 1 m
Trench 1.5 m
Fording 1 m


   The Buk (beech) air defense missile system was developed to replace the previous Kub. Its industrial designation is 9K37. Its reporting name in the West is SA-11 Gadfly. Development of this system commenced in 1972. It is successor to the Kub-M3. It entered service with the Soviet Army in 1980. The Buk has been exported to a number of countries. After collapse of the Soviet Union a number of air defense systems were passed on to successor states. Currently Russia operates about 350 systems. Other operators are Azerbaijan, Belarus, Cyprus, Egypt, Finland, Georgia, India, North Korea, Ukraine, Syria, Vietnam and Venezuela.

   This air defense system can defeat maneuvering aircraft and helicopters flying at low or high altitude when enemy uses electronic countermeasures. Newer versions of the Buk can also fight ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, anti-radiation missiles, smart bombs and unmanned aerial vehicles.

   The Buk fires 9M38 missiles. It is a single-stage missile, propelled on solid fuel. It resembles the US Tartar and Standard naval air defense missiles. Missile has semi-active radar guidance. It can engage targets at a range of 3.4-20.5 km at altitudes over 3 km. The range is reduced to 5-15.4 km, when targets fly 30 m above the ground. Maximum altitude is 25 km. The 9M38 missile has a hit probability of 70-93%. The Buk can also fire older 9M9M3 missiles of the Kub-M3 air defense missile system.

   A Buk TELAR vehicle is fitted with radar, digital computer, missile erector and launcher, friend or foe identification system. It is operated by a crew of four and carries four missiles.

   Radar of the Buk TERAL vehicle searches for targets, tracks them and guides missiles on them. So if required each TELAR vehicle can operate autonomously. The radar detects aircraft flying at altitude over 3 km at a range of 65-77 km. Detection range is reduced to 32-41 km when aircraft fly at 30-100 m above the ground. Low-flying aircraft are detected at a range of 21-35 km.

   When TELAR operates autonomously it takes about 24-27 seconds from target detection to missile launch. It can stop and launch its missiles in about 5 minutes from travelling. It also takes about 5 minutes to leave the firing position.

   A TELAR vehicle is based on GM-569 special tracked chassis. It is powered by a multi-fuel diesel engine, developing 710 hp. Later models are fitted with a more powerful engine, developing 840 hp. Maximum road speed is limited to 65 km/h. Vehicle is also fitted with auxiliary gas turbine power unit, which powers all systems when the main engine is turned off.

   Armor provides protection for the crew against small arms fire and artillery shell splinters. Vehicle is also fitted with NBC protection system.

   A battery of Buk includes six TELAR vehicles, six reloading vehicles, that can also launch missiles, battery command post vehicle, acquisition radar with detection range up to 120 km, repair and technical service vehicles, transporter vehicle, mobile crane.

   A reloading vehicle is fitted with a crane and carries 8 missiles. Essentially it is a combination of the TEL and reloading vehicle. A unique capability of this vehicle that it can launch missiles itself. It acquires firing data from TELAR vehicle. It reloads TELAR within 12 minutes.




   Buk-1, an early production version of the Buk. It is also referred as Kub-M4. At the time only Buk TELAR and missile were developed. This TELAR was incorporated into Kub-M3 batteries as force multiplier. It entered service with the Soviet Army in 1978;

   Buk, a completely developed missile system with all new system components;

   M-22 Uragan (SA-N-7 Gadfly), a naval version of the Buk. It entered service with the Russian Navy in 1983. Its export version is the Shtil;

   Buk-M1. Originally known as Buk-M. An improved version of the Buk. It can engage air-launched cruise missiles. Also it has improved resistance to electronic countermeasures and anti-radiation missiles. It entered service with the Soviet Army in 1984;

   Buk-M1-2 (SA-17 Grizzly). It was developed in 1994-1997 and entered service with the Russian Army in 1998. It fires 9M317 missiles with improved performance. This missile has a maximum range of 45 km and altitude of 25 km. This air defense system can engage ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, anti-radiation missiles. Furthermore it can target surface ships. Its export version is the Gang. Further improved version is the Buk-M1-2A. It fires 9M317A missiles;

   Buk-M2. It features a new missile and a new third generation phased array fire control radar. It can track 24 targets and engage 4 targets simultaneously. This air defense system was presented in 2007. It was not adopted by the Russian armed forces due to funding problems. Also at that time a brand new system was developed. Its export version is known as Ural;

   Buk-M2E export version of the Buk-M2. It was introduced in 2004;

   Buk-M2EK export version. It is based on MZKT-6922 6x6 wheeled chassis instead of the tracked. It has been exported to Venezuela. It seems that it was adopted in 2012;

   Ezh (SA-N-7B), a naval version of the Buk-M2. Its export version is also known as the Shtil;

   Buk-M3 a brand new air defense system with advanced electronic components. It is scheduled for production. The Buk M3 uses a brand new missile, that has a range of up to 70 km and can reach targets at an altitude of 35 km. It is planned that it will replace older Buk-M1 systems;

   Smerch (SA-N-7C Gollum), a naval version of the Buk-M3. It was scheduled for delivery in 2014. Its export version is the Shtil-1;

   Buk-MB a Belarusian modification of the Buk. It was publicly revealed in 2005. It includes a new Ukrainian-built radar on MZKT wheeled chassis. It uses the same Russian missiles as the Buk-M2. This air defense system is in service with Azerbaijan;

   HQ-16 a Chinese version of the Buk. It is based on the naval Shtil. A TEL vehicle is based on a 6x6 truck. Missiles are stored in containers and are launched vertically. A TEL vehicles carries 6 missiles instead of four, but the radar is carried by another truck. The HQ-16 can engage very low flying and high altitude targets;

   Raad, Iranian wheeled air defense system, using Taer 2 missiles. It has similar layout to the Buk-M2EK. It was first publicly revealed in 2012.


Video of the Buk air defense missile system










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