OTR-23 Oka
SS-23 Spider
A 9P71 TEL at the National Museum of Military History in Sofia, Bulgaria.
TypeTheatre ballistic missile
Short-range ballistic missile
Place of originSoviet Union
Service history
Used bySee Operators
Production history
DesignerKB Mashinostroyeniya (Kolomna)
DesignedFrom 1973
ManufacturerVotkinsk Machine Building Plant
Produced1979 – 1987
Mass4,360 kg (9,610 lb)
Length7.53 m (24.7 ft)
Diameter0.89 m (2 ft 11 in)
WarheadNuclear 50-100 kt, HE fragmentation, submunition, or chemical

EngineSingle-stage Solid-fuel rocket
500 km (310 mi)
Inertial with terminal topographic DSMAC active radar
Accuracy30–150 m CEP
Mobile TEL

The OTR-23 Oka (Russian: OTP-23 «Ока»; named after Oka River) was a mobile theatre ballistic missile (Russian: оперативно-тактический ракетный комплекс) deployed by the Soviet Union near the end of the Cold War to replace the obsolete SS-1C 'Scud B'. It carried the GRAU index 9K714 and was assigned the NATO reporting name SS-23 Spider. The introduction of the Oka significantly strengthened Soviet theatre nuclear capabilities as its range and accuracy allowed it not only to strike hardened NATO targets such as airfields, nuclear delivery systems, and command centers, but moving targets as well. It also had a fast reaction time, being able to fire in approximately five minutes, and was nearly impossible to intercept, thereby allowing it to penetrate defenses.[1]

The main components of the 9K714 system were:

The operational life of the Oka was limited and controversial. The Soviet military asserted that the Oka had a maximum range of 250 miles (400 km). American experts, however, estimated it had a greater range. In 1987, Mikhail Gorbachev proposed to George Shultz that he would unilaterally remove all Okas, if it would prevent the United States from building up its own short-range nuclear forces in Europe, despite the fact that the Soviet military was in favor of the Oka. Shultz however lacked the authority to act on the suggestion.[2] Gorbachev included the Oka in the class of systems to be discontinued as part of the INF Treaty as a gesture of goodwill, even though Soviet assertions of its maximum range did not put it outside the specifications of the treaty.[citation needed]

There was diplomatic controversy over this weapons system in April 1990, when the Soviets informed the US of their covert transfer of at least 120 missiles to the Warsaw Pact states of Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria, and East Germany during the time of negotiation of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. Evidence indicates that the missiles were transferred with conventional warheads only, although equipment to load Soviet nuclear warheads was apparently retained.[3]

Missile variants

The 9M714 missile, erected on its TEL

In addition to these warheads, the OTR-23 Oka was also reported to be able to deliver chemical munitions.


Map with former OTR-23 operators in red

Former operators

Phased out in 2002
 Czech Republic
Phased out in the 1990s
Passed on to successor states
 East Germany
Phased out in the 1990s, shortly before the reunification with West-Germany
Phased out in 2000
 Soviet Union
Phased out as directed by the INF Treaty

See also


  1. ^ http://www.missilethreat.com/missilesoftheworld/id.142/missile_detail.asp Archived 2007-09-29 at the Wayback Machine MissileThreat: SS-23
  2. ^ David Hoffman, The Dead Hand: The Untold Story of the Cold War Arms Race and Its Dangerous Legacy (Random House, 2009), 283-284.
  3. ^ https://fas.org/nuke/guide/russia/theater/ss-23.htm SS-23 SPIDER - Russian / Soviet Nuclear Forces