Air Defense: Why the Russian Tunguska Sells


December 30, 2005: Russia is having success exporting its (relatively) new Tunguska M1 self-propelled anti-aircraft system. India just bought 24 vehicles, at a cost of about $17 million each (including spares, maintenance support and extra missiles). That's enough for four batteries. Germany, Peru, Ukraine and Morocco have also bought the system. India had already bought 60 of the older (1986) model of the Tunguska. The current version of the Tunguska entered service in 1998, and over 300 of both versions have been manufactured so far.

The 34 ton vehicle carried carries radar, two 30mm cannon (with 1,936 rounds of ammo) and eight 9M311 (SA-19) missiles (plus up to four missiles for reloads). The missiles have a ten kilometer range against air targets, and six kilometers against ground targets. The missile can hit targets at up to 26,000 feet. The 30mm cannon is effective up to 10,000 feet, and can hit ground targets 4,000 meters away. The vehicle has a crew of three. The fire control system can use line-of-sight, as well as radar, guidance. The new version makes it easier to use the missiles, or guns, against ground targets. The 88 pound missile (also called Tnnguska, or 9m311) has a 20 pound warhead, and a lot of velocity when hitting something. As a bunker buster, it would be useful. The Russians have also noted that, since World War II, few of these self-propelled anti-aircraft weapons get an opportunity to shoot at something in the air, but there are always plenty of ground targets.


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