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OTR-21 Tochka
SS-21 Scarab
Missiles systems Tochka-U at a Russian Federation rehearsal for the parade in Yekaterinburg
TypeTactical ballistic missile
Place of originSoviet Union
Service history
In service1976–present (Scarab A)
1989–present (Scarab B)
Used bySee Operators
WarsYemeni Civil War (1994)
First Chechen War
Second Chechen War
Syrian Civil War
Russo-Ukrainian War
Yemeni Civil War (2015–present)
Saudi Arabian-led intervention in Yemen
2020 Nagorno-Karabakh conflict
Production history
ManufacturerKBM (Kolomna)
Unit cost$300,000 [1]
Produced1973
Specifications
Mass2,000 kg (4,400 lb) Scarab A
2,010 kg (4,430 lb) Scarab B
Length6,400 mm (250 in)
Diameter650 mm (26 in)
Crew3

Maximum firing range70 km (43 mi) Scarab A
120 km (75 mi) Scarab B
WarheadChemical, 100 kt nuclear warhead, EMP, or fragmentation filling

Main
armament
1 × OTR 21/9K79 Tactical Ballistic Missile
EngineSingle-stage solid-propellant rocket
96kN[2]
Maximum speed 1.8 km/s (1.1 mi/s; Mach 5.3)
Guidance
system
Inertial guidance, Tochka-R added passive radar against radar installations
Accuracy150 m (Tochka)
95 m (Tochka-U)
Launch
platform
BAZ-5921 [ru] Mobile TEL

OTR-21 Tochka (Russian: оперативно-тактический ракетный комплекс (ОТР) «Точка», romanizedoperativno-takticheskiy raketnyy kompleks (OTR) "Tochka", lit.'Tactical Operational Missile Complex "Point"') is a Soviet tactical ballistic missile. Its GRAU designation is 9K79; its NATO reporting name is SS-21 Scarab. One missile is transported per 9P129 vehicle and raised prior to launch. It uses an inertial guidance system.[3][4]

The OTR-21 forward deployment to East Germany began in 1981[citation needed], replacing the earlier Luna-M series of unguided artillery rockets. The system was scheduled to be decommissioned by the Russian Armed Forces in 2020 in favour of the 9K720 Iskander,[5] but they have been observed in use against Ukrainian targets during the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine.[6][7]

Description

The OTR-21 is a mobile missile launch system, designed to be deployed along with other land combat units on the battlefield. While the 9K52 Luna-M is large and relatively inaccurate, the OTR-21 is much smaller. The missile itself can be used for precise strikes on enemy tactical targets, such as control posts, bridges, storage facilities, troop concentrations and airfields. The fragmentation warhead can be replaced with a nuclear, biological or chemical warhead. The solid propellant makes the missile easy to maintain and deploy.

OTR-21 units are usually managed in a brigade structure.[where?] There are 18 launchers in a brigade; each launcher is provided with two or three missiles.[8]

The vehicle is completely amphibious, with a maximum road speed of 60 km/h (37 mph) and 8 km/h (5.0 mph) in water. The vehicle is NBC-protected. The system began development in 1968. Three variants were developed.[9]

Tochka

The initial version, Tochka (NATO reporting name Scarab A) entered service with the Soviet Army in 1975.[8] It carried one of four types of warhead:

The minimum range was about 15 km (9.3 mi), maximum range was 70 km (43 mi); its circular error probable (CEP) is estimated to be about 150 m (490 ft).[8]

9M79K missile for 9K79 Tochka missile system

Tochka-U

The improved Tochka-U (NATO reporting name Scarab B) passed state tests from 1986 to 1988 and was introduced in 1989.

A new motor propellant increased the range to 120 km (75 mi). CEP significantly improved, to 95 m (312 ft).[10] Six warhead options have been reported, a unitary high explosive warhead, an anti-personnel submunition dispenser, an anti-radar warhead, an EMP warhead and two nuclear warheads.[11]

Scarab C

An unconfirmed[9] third variant, designated Scarab C by NATO, may have been developed in the 1990s, but was likely never operational.[9] Again, range increased to 185 km (115 mi), and CEP decreased to less than 70 m (229 ft). Scarab C weighs 1,800 kg (4,000 lb).

Configuration

Educational means:[citation needed]

Operational history

Syrian civil war (2011–present)

Yemeni civil war (2014–present)

2020 Nagorno-Karabakh war

Russo-Ukrainian War

Operators

Map of OTR-21 operators in blue with former operators in red. (Note: Russian Tochka-U ballistic missiles were returned to service amid Ukraine war in March 2022).[51]
Armenian OTR-21 during the Independence Day parade in Yerevan, 2016
Ukrainian OTR-21 Tochka missiles during the Independence Day parade in Kyiv, 2008

Current operators

 Armenia
3+[52]
 Azerbaijan
4[53]
 Belarus
36[54] (operated by 465th Missile Brigade)[55]
 Bulgaria
18[56]
 Kazakhstan
12[57]
 North Korea
Unknown numbers of KN-02 Toksa variant.
 Russia
In 2010, the Russian Army had more than 200 surface-to-surface missiles (SSMs) of various types in service; these included the Tochka[58] which had undergone a modernization program in 2004 with the installation of a new automatic control system.[59] As of 2019, Russia possessed 24 launchers.[60] Russian missile systems have been upgraded since 2004 (replacing the onboard automated control systems)[61][62] and were scheduled to be replaced by the 9K720 Iskander missiles.[63][64] It was reported that in late 2019, the 448th Rocket Brigade, last rocket brigade operating the Tochka ballistic missiles was rearmed with the 9K720 Iskander missiles, marking the end of operation of the type with the Russian Armed Forces. However, some systems are expected to remain in use at the Kapustin Yar missile test range.[65][66][67] Despite these claims, Russian news reports and social media footage show Russian army still displaying Tochkas at public events in 2021, including at Victory Day parade in Krasnodar.[68]
 Ukraine
According to the Russian Ministry of Defense, as of April 2022, Ukraine possess 38–90 Tochka missile launchers and several hundred missiles.[67] The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) states that Ukraine has 500 Tochka-U missiles in its arsenal in 2022.[69]
 Syria
Inherited unknown numbers of KN-02 Toksa variant from North Korea.[24] In February 2017, according to a Fox news report, US officials claimed Russia has also supplied 50 Tochka-U missiles to Syria.[70] Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov claimed that Russia has no such information, and the Russian Ministry of Defense denied it.[71]
 Yemen
Inherited from North Yemen.[72] Used during the 1994 civil war and the ongoing civil war.[73]

Former operators

 Czechoslovakia
Passed on to successor states.
 Czech Republic
Inherited from Czechoslovakia, retired.
 East Germany
Passed on to Germany.
 Germany
Retired; was never operational.
 North Yemen
Ordered 12 launchers and around 100 missiles. Declared operational in 1988.[74] They were used during the 1994 civil war,[75] and were passed on to unified Yemen after.[76]
 Poland
4[77] retired in 2005, because of lack of rockets and service parts.
 Slovakia
Inherited a small number from Czechoslovakia, all retired.
 Soviet Union
Passed on to successor states.

See also

References

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