Russia has received its first Buk-M3 medium range surface-to-air missile (SAM) systems, defence minister Sergei Shoigu has announced.
The new Buk-M3 system was also shown publically on Russian television for the first time on 23 October by TV Zvezda.
According to Shoigu, one anti-aircraft missile battalion is now operational with the new SAM. Two battalion sets of the older Buk-M2 system were also delivered to the Russian Ground Forces and the Russian Airborne Troops by mid-October.
The Buk-M3 differs significantly from its predecessor systems, most notably by the fact its missiles are containerised and more are carried than in older models.
The 9M317M missile and launch canister used by the Buk-M3 is believed to be the same as that found in the new naval 3S90M version of the Buk. The missile itself is a marked departure from previous members of the Buk family (such as the 9M38 and 9M317) in that it has only vestigial fixed aerodynamic surfaces and uses jet-vanes to add thrust vectoring control. The new missile is also reportedly lighter and faster than earlier Buk missiles, and has a longer range and improved performance against fast moving targets.
The standard Buk-M3 9A317M transporter erector launcher and radar (TELAR) vehicle carries six containerised 9M317M missiles, two more than previous Buk TELARS, and its radar is paired with an integrated identification friend-or-foe system. The new missile/container layout allows for a similar upgrade in capacity for the new 9A316M transporter erector launcher (TEL), which carries 12 missiles over the 8 normally carried by older Buk TELs. In the footage aired by TV Zvezda, a 9T243M transport and loading vehicle, a 9S36M low-altitude acquisition radar, and a fire control/command station were also shown.
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