The 2K22 Tunguska / 96K6 Pantsir / SA-19 Grison / SA-22 Greyhound family of SPAAGMs owes its earliest origins to a 1970 directive for the replacement of the ubiquitous ZSU-23-4P SPAAG. The ZSU-23-4P was considered both lethal and effective by its Western opponents, but Soviet analysts were unimpressed with the lethality and the engagement envelope of the 23 mm weapons. Analysis indicated that a 30 mm gun would be much more lethal. Soviet operational analysis also indicated that the performance of the acquisition radar on the SPAAG was critical to combat effectiveness. The defeat of anti-tank helicopters in pop-up engagement geometries became an additional requirement after the 1972 debut of these weapons in Vietnam. Trials of the prototype 2S6 / 2K22 Tunguska SPAAGM commenced in 1980. The prototypes introduced several innovations, including a 30 mm gun derivative aircraft cannon, the 9K311 missile and a digital computer for controlling the system.
The earliest production variant, the 2K22 / 2S6 Tunguska / SA-19 Grison, achieved IOC in 1982.
The immediate operational imperative for the PVO-SV was to defeat the then new A-10A Thunderbolt, and US Army helicopters firing anti-armour missiles, such as the TOW equipped AH-1S and Hellfire equipped AH-64A Apache. From the Soviet perspective, both of these threats would pop up briefly above the radar/visual horizon, fire at Soviet tanks or SPAAGs, and then disappear below the horizon before the ZSU-23-4P or 9K33 Osa / SA-8 systems could respond with defensive weapon fire.