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Strela-3

Man-portable air defense missile system

Strela-3

The ageing Soviet Strela-3 MANPADS is still used to this day

 
 
Country of origin Soviet Union
Entered service 1974
Missile length 1.47 m
Missile diameter 0.07 m
Fin span 0.3 m (?)
Missile weight 10.3 kg
Weight with launcher 16 kg
Warhead weight 1.17 kg
Warhead type High explosive blast fragmentation
Range of fire 4.5 km
Altitude of fire 3 km
Guidance Infrared homing

 

   The Strela-3 (Russian: Arrow-3) is a Man-Portable Air Defense System (MANPADS), developed in Soviet Union. Its reporting name in the West is SA-14 Gremlin. It succeeded the older Strela-2M, which was a Soviet clone of the US FIM-43 Red Eye. Development of the Strela-3 commenced in 1968. Prototypes were ready and testing began in 1972. The Strela-3 was adopted in 1974. It was widely used by the Soviet armed forces. This MANPADS has been exported to Warsaw Pact countries, Soviet allies and countries, where Soviet influence has spread. It was license-produced in Poland. It seems that the Strela-3 is no longer used by the Russian Army. However it is still used by a number of countries around the world.

   The Strela-3 has much in common with the previous Strela-2M. This MANPADS was designed to engage visual targets such as aircraft and helicopters. It seems that this old system is not effective against drones.

   The Strela-3 uses an 9M36 fire-and-forget type missile. This missile had a new and significantly more sensitive infrared seeker than the previous Strela-2M. The seeker was designed to see infrared energy and guide itself on very hot surfaces, such as aircraft's heat signature, and particularly inside of a jet engine. The new seeker of the Strela-3 was no longer sensitive to background interference, including rain, snow, fog, dust, sun, clouds and horizon. It allowed the missile to be fired against targets from much broader angles. Furthermore the new seeker could overcome some countermeasures, such as exhaust shrouds and typical flares. Later an improved 9M36-1 missile was introduced.

   The warhead of the Strela-3 was much larger than on its predecessors. The missile explodes on contact. If it misses, the missile self-destructs. The Strela-3 missile was also fitted with a new rocket motor. Maximum interception range increased to 4.5 km. The missile can reach air targets up to an altitude of 3 km.

   Hit probability with a single missile against an unprotected target is 31-33%. This number is reduced it the target uses countermeasures, such as infrared decoys.

   Operation of the Strela-3 is similar to other MANPAD systems such as the Red Eye or Stinger. The missile is inserted into the launcher prior to launch. The launcher can be reloaded up to 5 times. After that it is disposed.

   The Stela-3 can be used with a friend-or-foe interrogator.

   Minimum launch time from carrying position to launch is 12 seconds. Once the launcher is on the shoulder, covers are removed and sights are extended, time to launch is reduced to 6-8 seconds. It takes around 25 seconds to reload launcher with new missile.

   In the Soviet Army the Strela-3 was used by separate 3-man teams. Each team member had its launcher and 2 spare missiles. This missile can be launched from a hatch of an armored vehicle, moving at a speed of up to 20 km/h. It is worth noting that in the Soviet armed forces most armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles carried these shoulder-launched missiles inside the hull.

 

Variants

 

   SA-N-8 is a naval launcher with two Strela-3 missiles.

   Igla-1 and Igla are further development of the Strela-3. Both of these have better range and seeker sensitivity. The Igla-1 is a simplified early production version, adopted in 1981. It has a maximum range of 5 000 m and could reach targets at a maximum altitude of 2 500 m. The Igla is a standard production version, that was adopted in 1983.

   HN-5B is a Chinese clone, based on the Strela-3. Chinese obtained Soviet Strela-3 missiles captured from Angola governmental forces. The HN-5B MANPADS has been adopted by the Chinese armed forces in the mid 1980s. However it was first publicly revealed only in 1990. The HN-5B has been exported to Pakistan, and, possibly, some other countries.

   Misagh-1 is an Iranian clone, based on the Strela-3.

 
Strela-3

Strela-3

Strela-3

Strela-3

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Strela-3

Strela-3

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