Air Defense: Russian Mobile Missile System Becomes a Player


December 7, 2005: Iran's purchase of Russian Tor-M1 (SA-15) air defense missile systems, gets this fifteen year old weapon into the big leagues as an exportable air-defense weapon. The Tor-M1 is now used by Russia, China, Greece and Iran (which will receive its equipment in the next six months). Iran is paying about $100 million for each of the seven batteries of missile launchers. Each battery has search radar and command center vehicles, and controls four launcher vehicles (each carrying eight missiles, and another radar.) The missiles can hit aircraft and cruise missiles up to 12 kilometers away, and cruise missiles at a distance of five kilometers. The missile launcher vehicle has a crew of thee (commander, driver and missile systems operator).

The 370 pound missiles are nine feet long and 9.25 inches (235mm) in diameter. The tracking radar on the missile vehicle can track two targets at once, and can launch a missile in under eight seconds of a target being located. Missiles can be launched from the vehicle at three second intervals. The missile vehicle weighs 34 tons, has light armor (good against small arms and shell fragments) and cannot float. The system has not been used in combat yet, but the Russians say it has performed well in tests. The Chinese are happy with it, and have ordered more of them (they received their first dozen vehicles five years ago.)


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