.: Tony McGoldrick's SA-9 "Gaskin" Amphibious Missile Launcher





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9K31 Strela-1

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"SA-9" redirects here. For the Apollo flight, see A-103 (SA-9).
9K31 Strela-1
(NATO reporting name: SA-9 Gaskin)
Soviet SA-9 Gaskin.jpg
Type Vehicle-mounted SAM system
Place of origin Soviet Union
Service history
In service 1968-present
Used by See list of operators
Wars Arab-Israeli Wars, Western Sahara War, Yugoslav wars, Lebanon wars, Iran-Iraq war, 2003 invasion of Iraq[1]
Production history
Designer OKB-16 design bureau (now the Moscow-based KB Tochmash Design Bureau of Precision Engineering)
Manufacturer Soviet state factories
Produced 1966
Variants 9K31, CA-95[2]
Specifications (9K31 Strela-1[3])
Weight 7,000 kg
Length 5.8 m
Width 2.4 m
Height 2.3 m (travelling)
Crew 3 (commander, gunner and driver)

Armour 5-14 mm
4 x 9M31 (or 9M31M)
Engine GAZ 41 V-8 water-cooled petrol
140 hp at 3,400 rpm
Power/weight 20 hp/t
Ground clearance 0.43 m
Fuel capacity 290 litres
750 km
Speed 100 km/h (road)
10 km/h (water)

The 9K31 Strela-1 (Russian: 9К31 «Стрела-1»; English: arrow) is a highly mobile, short-range, low altitude infra-red guided surface-to-air missile system. Originally developed by the Soviet Union under the GRAU designation 9K31, it is commonly known by its NATO reporting name, SA-9 "Gaskin". The system consists of a BRDM-2 amphibious vehicle, mounting two pairs of ready-to-fire 9M31 missiles.

Development History

The missiles used in this system were developed alongside the ubiquitous Russian MANPADS 9K32M "Strela-2" (NATO designation SA-7 "Grail") in the 1960s. At first both missiles were intended to be man-portable systems, but as it became obvious that Strela-2 would be far more compact of the two system, the development goals of Strela-1 were changed. Instead of a battalion-level man-portable system the new criteria called for a regimental vehicle-mounted SAM to support the ZSU-23-4.

As a result of the change in role and more relaxed weight limits of a vehicle-mounted SAM, the design team made the 9M31 a much heavier missile, which permitted fewer design compromises than in the case of Strela-2 to achieve acceptable kinematic performance. The most notable difference is the much larger diameter of the missile and a blunt seeker head that occupies the full width of the missile body. With all else being equal, the ability of an optical seeker to detect a target is directly proportional to its diameter, but on the other hand aerodynamic drag increases proportionally to the square of the diameter.

The Strela-1 also had a warhead over twice as heavy, a proximity fuze and more effective control surface configuration to provide better maneuverability at the cost of increased drag. The net result was a missile four times the weight of Strela-2, with only slightly longer reach but otherwise of much better performance.


Each TEL carries four ready-to fire missiles, but typically no missiles for reloading. Reloading is performed manually and usually takes approximately 5 minutes. The missile boxes are lowered for transport to lower the total height of the vehicle. The driver and commander have periscopes for viewing outside the vehicle when the hatches are closed.

9K31 TEL w/"Flat Box" passive radar detection array. Photo by GulfLINK.

Apart from the new turret, the other major change to the BRDM-2 chassis is the removal of the belly wheels (which are presumably to improve off-road performance). The driver and commander both have infra-red vision systems. The vehicle has standard NBC (Nuclear, Biological and Chemical) protection including overpressure. The missiles fold down to the sides of the turret which greatly reduces the height of the vehicle whilst travelling. Each vehicle weighs around 7 tonnes (7.7 short tons) and has a 104 kW (140 hp) engine and a central tire pressure control system.

Missiles and guidance


According to a number of Russian sources[who?] the original 9M31 (US DoD designation SA-9A "Gaskin-Mod0") had a zone of reliable target destruction from 900 to 4200 metres. Several western and also some Russian sources give much higher range estimates of 800 to 6500 m (0.5 to 4 miles); these may refer to maximum firing range against an approaching target and minimum against receding, which are obviously larger envelopes as the target only has to reach the intercept zone by the time the missile would reach it.

The missile is effective against targets receding at a maximum speed of 220 m/s, or approaching at 310 m/s.

Type Surface-to-air missile
Place of origin Soviet Union
Production history
Variants 9M31, 9M31M
Specifications (9M31 [5])
Weight 32 kg
Length 1803 mm
Diameter 120 mm
Warhead Frag-HE
Warhead weight 2.6 kg
RF Proximity

Wingspan 0.36 m[3]
Propellant single-stage solid propellant rocket motor
4,200 metres (2.6 mi)[4] (sometimes reported also as 6.5 kilometres (4.0 mi) for 9M31, 8 kilometres (5.0 mi) for the 9M31M.)
Flight altitude 3,500 metres (11,500 ft) (some sources give also higher figures)
Speed Mach 1.8
photocontrast PbS seeker.[4] (sometimes reported also as IR seeker of 1-3 μm and/or 1-5 μm wavelength);

The warhead was primarily intended to impact the target directly, and had contact and magnetic fuzes, but also contained a back-up optical proximity fuze to detonate the warhead in case of a near miss. The missile also had an unusual safety mechanism in case of a miss; rather than a self-destruct fuze, if the optical fuze didn't detect a target within 13...16 seconds, the warhead safety mechanism would be engaged to prevent its detonation upon impact.

Propulsion is by a single-stage solid fuel rocket motor, which is ignited at a distance of few meters from the launch tube: as the throw-out charge ejects the missile from its canister, it is trailing a wire from its rear. The main rocket ignites when missile reaches the wire's end at a few metres distance, and is cut off from it.

The seeker head is an unusual construction, using uncooled lead sulphide (PbS) detector elements, but with an unusual tracking mechanism. Uncooled PbS elements are commonly used to detect radiation at only short wavelengths of less than 2 micrometers. Only very hot objects emit strongly at such short wavelengths, limiting heat-seeking systems using uncooled PbS detector elements to rear-hemisphere engagements against jet targets, although propeller-driven aircraft and helicopters can of course be engaged from any direction from which the exhaust or other very hot parts of the engine are visible.

Please go to Wikipedia, if you want any further information

Thanks Wikipedia!


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