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Strela-1 SAM
Russian surface-to-air missile. Widely exported man-portable surface-to-air missile.

AKA: 9K31;9M31;Gaskin;SA-9;Strela-1. Gross mass: 30 kg (66 lb). Height: 1.80 m (5.89 ft). Diameter: 0.12 m (0.39 ft). Span: 0.38 m (1.23 ft).

Development of the Strela-1 9K31 man-portable surface-to-air missile was ordered by a decree of September 1960. The system was to consist of a light self-homing surface-to-air missile, equipped with a visual sight, for use by light surface and parachute forces. KB Precision Machinery (KBTM GKOT), under the supervision of A E Nudelmann, was assigned development of the system. D M Khorol at TsKB Geofizika GKOT designed the optical homing system. In common with other early Soviet infrared homing systems, development was protracted, chiefly due to difficulties in obtaining crystals for the infrared detector of the necessary purity. Both man-carried and vehicle-mounted versions were developed. The BRDM-2 vehicle was equipped with a launcher unit, launch electronics, optical observation and designation equipment, and four 9M31 missiles in their transport-launch containers.

The missile had a canard aerodynamic layout with a proportional navigation guidance system. The bearing to the target as determined by the homing head was compared with the axis of the rocket, and the necessary manoeuvre generated to keep the missile pointed at the target. The missile was propelled by a single-chamber dual-thrust solid rocket motor with a bell nozzle. Either a magneto-electric contact fuse or an electro-optical proximity fuse would ignite the warhead. If after 13 to 16 seconds there was no signal from the proximity fuse, the PIM mechanism ensured that the warhead was safed and would not explode.

In operation the operator picked up the launch tube and put the sight on the target. He would pull back the trigger to the first position, wait at least five seconds and them pull to the second position. The operator would then have to wait for an audible tone confirming that the missile had locked on the target. Keeping the sight on the target until the tone reached a maximum level, the operator would then push the launch button. The rocket was expelled from the container, trailing a wire behind. When the end of the wire was reached, the solid rocket motor ignited, the wire was cut, and the connection with the operator was broken. The missile headed on its way to the target, while the operator on the vehicle-mounted version could proceed to sight on a second target and repeat the process. The missile completed its trials in 1968 and was accepted for production.

Radars: 9S16 Flat Box A target acquisition radar, range 30 km.


Strela-1 9M31M Russian surface-to-air missile. Improved version of the Strela-1.

Country: Russia. Agency: Nudelman.

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