Air Defense: So What If It Does Not Work


May 13, 2013: Recently, while testing a Russian air defense system (the SAM-8/Osa-AK, a self-propelled system that fires 170 kg/374 pound missiles), Indian Air Force evaluators had to fire three missiles before one hit a slow moving aerial target. The Indian Army already uses the SAM-8 but does not publicize reliability rates. This is not the first time Russian weapons have performed poorly when India tested them.

It is known that Russian weapons are less reliable and effective than their Western counterparts. It is understood that this is a tradeoff for cheaper prices and more bribes for the purchasing officials. Whenever these weapons are used on a large scale in a war, many of them do work, although not as well as Western versions and whoever is using Russian weapons usually losses.

The SAM-8 has been around since the early 1970s, and has been upgraded several times. Reliability has improved as well but it is still not as reliable as comparable Western systems. SAM-8 is carried in 17.5 ton 6x6 wheeled armored vehicle with a crew of five (to operate the radar, fire the missiles, drive the vehicle, and maintain all that gear). The vehicle carries six missiles in sealed firing containers. The missiles can hit targets as high as 12,000 meters (39,000 feet) and up to 15 kilometers away.


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