Surface-to-Air Missile (SAM) System S-125-ML

The S-125 NEVA-M (SA-3 GOA) is a surface-to-air anti-aircraft short-range system designed for destruction of aircraft, cruise missiles, assault helicopters and other air targets at ground, low and medium altitudes. The development of air weapon systems and the need for the protection of the most important objects in the territory of the country required the development of the mobile systems of rocket weapon, capable of resisting massed attacks of aviation and cruise missiles, including at the maximally low altitudes of their combat employment.

Solution of the problems indicated was achieved/reached during the creation of zenith rocket systems S-75 and S-125, which were developed between 1957 and 1961 under design project leader A.A. Raspletin’s management.

US intelligence imagery at Kapustin Yar in late 1959 revealed two probable R&D sites, each of which consisted of four launch pads. A possible launcher on one of the pads held two missile-like objects about 20 feet long. US intelligence subsequntly identified more than 35 sites of this type in the USSR between late 1961 and 1964, usually near SA-1 or SA-2 sites. The initial SA-3A GOA Mod 0, deployed in 1961, includes command guidance throughout the missile’s flight. The subsequent SA-3B GOA Mod 1, first deployed in 1964, incorporated an improved guidance system. The missile’s ability to dive allows it to be used against surface targets and naval vessels.

The S-125 is fired from trainable launchers which are normally fixed, but can be relocated. The crew loads the missiles with the aid of a conveyor onto the ground-mounted, trainable launcher for firing, with both twin and quadruple launchers in use. A pair of missiles are carried in tandem on a modified truck or tracked vehicle. The S-125 is normally transported from battalion storage areas on modified ZIL-131 (6 x 6) or ZIL-157 (6 x 6) trucks and loaded onto the launchers. Approximately one minute is required to load the missiles onto the launch rails, but nearly an hour is required between missile launches due to missile preparation, truck transit and other reloading procedures.

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