Development of the Strela-2 man-portable surface-to-air missile was begun in 1960 in parallel with the Strela-1. The industrial team was led by B I Shavyrin, succeeded by S P Nepobedim, at SKB GKOT in Kolomna. The homing head was provided by the Leningrad LOMO enterprise, with support by NII-801, NII-6, NII-24, and others. The missile was accepted for use by the Soviet Army and Navy in 1968, followed by wide deployment to other Warsaw Pact forces and Soviet allies. First use in combat was at the Suez Canal in August 1969. Of ten Israeli aircraft downed in that month's actions by the Egyptian forces, the Strela-2 accounted for six.
In operation, the protective cover of the shoulder-held launcher was opened, revealing the homing head of the missile. The operator was given optical and aural signals of the acquisition of the homing head of the target. The launcher's battery had a life of only 40 seconds - if the missile was not fired by then, the battery had to be replaced. After a decision to launch, the missile was popped out of the launch tube at a velocity of 27-31 m/s. Once it was 5.5 m away, four stabilising fins deployed from the base, and the main stage of the solid rocket motor ignited, accelerating the missile to 470 kph. The Strela-2's infrared homing head guided the missile into the enemy aircraft's exhaust, where a contact fuse ignited the 370 g high explosive fragmentation warhead. It was effective only against jet-powered aircraft and helicopters flying away from the operator of up to 720 kph.
|Strela-2 9M32M Russian surface-to-air missile. Even before development of Strela-2 was completed, work began on the improved Strela-2M. This had improved range, was able to engage targets flying as fast as 940 kph, and could intercept low-speed targets (up to 540 kph) even when launched from the side. It also had some ability to ignore decoys and other countermeasures. It was accepted for production in 1970.|
|HN-5 Chinese surface-to-air missile. HN, Hong Nu = Red Cherry, short range SAM, similar to SA-7.|
|HN-5A Chinese surface-to-air missile. HN, Hong Nu = Red Cherry, short range SAM.|
|Strela-2 4K32 Russian surface-to-air missile. For VMF use aboard ships, the Strela-2 basic missile was used with the MTU-4S launcher.|