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A surface-to-air missile (SAM), also known as a ground-to-air missile (GTAM) or surface-to-air guided weapon (SAGW), is a
missile In military terminology, a missile is a missile guidance, guided airborne ranged weapon capable of self-propelled flight usually by a jet engine or rocket motor. Missiles are thus also called guided missiles or guided rockets (when in rocket f ...
designed to be launched from the ground to destroy
aircraft An aircraft is a vehicle that is able to flight, fly by gaining support from the Atmosphere of Earth, air. It counters the force of gravity by using either Buoyancy, static lift or by using the Lift (force), dynamic lift of an airfoil, or in ...

aircraft
or other missiles. It is one type of anti-aircraft system; in modern armed forces, missiles have replaced most other forms of dedicated anti-aircraft weapons, with
anti-aircraft gun Anti-aircraft warfare or counter-air defence is the battlespace Battle-space is a term used to signify a unified military strategy Military strategy is a set of ideas implemented by military organizations to pursue desired strategic goal ...

anti-aircraft gun
s pushed into specialized roles. The first serious attempts at SAM development took place during
World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a global war A world war is "a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literatur ...
, although no operational systems were introduced. Further development in the 1940s and 1950s led to operational systems being introduced by most major forces during the second half of the 1950s. Smaller systems, suitable for close-range work, evolved through the 1960s and 1970s, to modern systems that are man-portable. Shipborne systems followed the evolution of land-based models, starting with long-range weapons and steadily evolving toward smaller designs to provide a layered defence. This evolution of design increasingly pushed gun-based systems into the shortest-range roles. The American
Nike Ajax The United States Army The United States Army (USA) is the land military branch, service branch of the United States Armed Forces. It is one of the eight Uniformed services of the United States, U.S. uniformed services, and is designated a ...

Nike Ajax
was the first operational
guided missile In military terminology, a missile is a guided airborne ranged weapon . English longbowmen figure prominently in the foreground at right where they drive away the French crossbow A crossbow is a ranged weapon using an elastic launching ...
SAM system, and the Soviet Union's
S-75 Dvina The S-75 (Russian: С-75; NATO reporting name NATO reporting names are code names for military equipment from Russia, China, and historically, the Eastern Bloc (Soviet Union and other nations of the Warsaw Pact). They provide unambiguous and ea ...

S-75 Dvina
was the most-produced SAM. Widely used modern examples include the Patriot and S-300 wide-area systems,
SM-6 The RIM-174 Standard Extended Range Active Missile (ERAM), or Standard Missile 6 (SM-6) is a missile in current production for the United States Navy. It was designed for extended range anti-air warfare (ER-AAW) purposes providing capability ag ...
and MBDA Aster Missile naval missiles, and short-range man-portable systems like the
Stinger A stinger (or sting) is a sharp organ Organ may refer to: Biology * Organ (anatomy) An organ is a group of Tissue (biology), tissues with similar functions. Plant life and animal life rely on many organs that co-exist in organ systems. ...
and
Strela-3 The 9K34 Strela-3 (russian: 9К34 «Стрела-3», 'arrow', NATO reporting name NATO reporting names are code names for military equipment from Russia, China, and historically, the Eastern Bloc (Soviet Union and other nations of the Warsaw Pac ...
.


History

The first known idea for a guided surface-to-air missile was in 1925, when a
beam riding Beam-riding, also known as Line-Of-Sight Beam Riding (LOSBR) or beam guidance, is a technique of directing a missile In military terminology, a missile is a missile guidance, guided airborne ranged weapon capable of self-propelled flight usu ...
system was proposed whereby a rocket would follow a searchlight beam onto a target. A selenium cell was mounted on the tip of each of the rocket's four tail fins, with the cells facing backwards. When one selenium cell was no longer in the light beam, it would be steered in the opposite direction back into the beam. The first historical mention of a concept and design of a surface-to-air missile in which a drawing was presented, was by inventor Gustav Rasmus in 1931, who proposed a design that would home in on the sound of an aircraft's engines.


World War II

During
World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a global war A world war is "a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literatur ...
, efforts were started to develop surface-to-air missiles as it was generally considered that
flak Anti-aircraft warfare or counter-air defence is the battlespace response to aerial warfare, defined by NATO as "all measures designed to nullify or reduce the effectiveness of hostile air action".AAP-6 It includes surface based, subsurface ...

flak
was of little use against
bomber A bomber is a combat aircraft designed to attack ground and naval targets by dropping air-to-ground weaponry (such as bombs), launching aerial torpedo, torpedoes, or deploying air-launched cruise missiles. The first use of bombs dropped from an ...
s of ever-increasing performance. The lethal radius of a flak shell is fairly small, and the chance of delivering a "hit" is essentially a fixed percentage per round. In order to attack a target, guns fire continually while the aircraft are in range in order to launch as many shells as possible, increasing the chance that one of these will end up within the lethal range. Against the
Boeing B-17 The Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress is a four-engined heavy bomber developed in the 1930s for the United States Army Air Corps (USAAC). Competing against Douglas Aircraft Company, Douglas and Glenn L. Martin Company, Martin for a contract to build ...
, which operated just within the range of the numerous German eighty-eights, an average of 2,805 rounds had to be fired per bomber destroyed. Bombers flying at higher altitudes require larger guns and shells to reach them. This greatly increases the cost of the system, and (generally) slows the rate of fire. Faster aircraft fly out of range more quickly, reducing the number of rounds fired against them. Against late-war designs like the
Boeing B-29 Superfortress The Boeing B-29 Superfortress is an American four-engine propeller-driven heavy bomber Heavy bombers are bomber A bomber is a combat aircraft A military aircraft is any fixed-wing or rotary-wing aircraft An aircraft is a ...

Boeing B-29 Superfortress
or jet-powered designs like the
Arado Ar 234 The Arado Ar 234 ''Blitz'' (English: lightning) was the world's first operational jet-powered bomber, built by the German Arado Flugzeugwerke, Arado company in the closing stages of World War II. Produced in limited numbers it was used almost en ...
, flak would be essentially useless. This potential was already obvious by 1942, when
Walther von Axthelm__NOTOC__ Walther von Axthelm (23 December 1893 – 6 January 1972) was a German general (General der Flakartillerie) in the Luftwaffe during World War II who commanded the 1. Flakkorps. He was a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross o ...
outlined the growing problems with flak defences that he predicted would soon be dealing with "aircraft speeds and flight altitudes
hat A collection of 18th and 19th century men's beaver felt hats A hat is a head covering which is worn for various reasons, including protection against weather conditions, ceremonial reasons such as university graduation, religious reasons, safet ...

hat
will gradually reach and between ."This is a quote-of-a-quote and the original source is not available. Axthelm almost certainly stated these numbers in metric terms. This was seen generally; in November 1943 the Director of Gunnery Division of the
Royal Navy The Royal Navy (RN) is the United Kingdom's naval warfare Naval warfare is combat Combat ( French for ''fight'') is a purposeful violent conflict meant to physically harm or kill the opposition. Combat may be armed (using weapon A ...
concluded that guns would be useless against jets, stating "No projectile of which control is lost when it leaves the ship can be of any use to us in this matter."


German efforts

The first serious consideration of a SAM development project was a series of conversations that took place in Germany during 1941. In February, Friederich Halder proposed a "flak rocket" concept, which led
Walter Dornberger Major-General Dr. Walter Robert Dornberger (6 September 1895 – 27 June 1980) was a German Army The German Army () is the land component of the armed forces of Federal Republic of Germany, Germany. The present-day German Army was founded ...
to ask
Wernher von Braun Wernher Magnus Maximilian Freiherr von Braun (23 March 1912 – 16 June 1977) was a German-born American aerospace engineering, aerospace engineer and space architecture, space architect. He was the leading figure in the development of rocket te ...

Wernher von Braun
to prepare a study on a guided missile able to reach between altitude. Von Braun became convinced a better solution was a manned rocket interceptor, and said as much to the director of the
T-Amt The Ministry of Aviation (german: Reichsluftfahrtministerium, abbreviated RLM) was a government department during the period of Nazi Germany (1933–45). It is also the original name of the Detlev-Rohwedder-Haus building on the Wilhelmstrasse ...
, Roluf Lucht, in July. The directors of the ''Luftwaffe'' flak arm were not interested in manned aircraft, and the resulting disagreements between the teams delayed serious consideration of a SAM for two years. Von Axthelm published his concerns in 1942, and the subject saw serious consideration for the first time; initial development programs for liquid- and
solid-fuel rocket A solid-propellant rocket or solid rocket is a rocket with a rocket engine that uses Rocket propellant#Solid chemical propellants, solid propellants (fuel/oxidizer). The earliest rockets were solid-fuel rockets powered by gunpowder; they were u ...
s became part of the Flak Development Program of 1942. By this point serious studies by the
Peenemünde Peenemünde (, en, "Peene
iver Iver is a large civil parish In England, a civil parish is a type of administrative parish used for local government. It is a territorial designation which is the lowest tier of local government below districts and counties, or their com ...
Mouth") is a municipality on the Baltic Sea island of Usedom in the Vorpommern-Greifswald district in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany. It is part of the ''Amt (country subdivision), Amt'' (collective municipality ...
team had been prepared, and several rocket designs had been proposed, including 1940's ''
Feuerlilie Feuerlilie (English: fire lily) was the code name of a German anti-aircraft missile, which was developed in 1940 and was shelved because of problems with the controller and the drive section at the end of January 1945 in favour of other projec ...
'', and 1941's ''Wasserfall'' and
Henschel Hs 117 The Henschel Hs 117 ''Schmetterling'' (German for ''Butterfly Butterflies are insect Insects or Insecta (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European langua ...
''Schmetterling''. None of these projects saw any real development until 1943, when the first large-scale raids by the Allied air forces started. As the urgency of the problem grew, new designs were added, including ''
Enzian The Enzian (named for a genus Genus /ˈdʒiː.nəs/ (plural genera /ˈdʒen.ər.ə/) is a taxonomic rank In biological classification In biology, taxonomy () is the scientific study of naming, defining (Circumscription (taxonomy), ...

Enzian
'' and ''
Rheintochter ''Rheintochter'' was a German surface-to-air missile A surface-to-air missile (SAM), also known as a ground-to-air missile (GTAM) or surface-to-air guided weapon (SAGW), is a missile designed to be launched from the ground to destroy aircr ...
'', as well as the unguided ''Taifun'' which was designed to be launched in waves. In general, these designs could be split into two groups. One set of designs would be boosted to altitude in front of the bombers and then flown towards them on a head-on approach at low speeds comparable to manned aircraft. These designs included the Feuerlilie, Schmetterling and Enzian. The second group were high-speed missiles, typically supersonic, that flew directly towards their targets from below. These included Wasserfall and Rheintochter. Both types used
radio control Radio control (often abbreviated to R/C or simply RC) is the use of control signal In telecommunication, signaling is the use of signals for controlling communications. This may constitute an information exchange concerning the establishment ...
for guidance, either by eye, or by comparing the returns of the missile and target on a single radar screen. Development of all these systems was carried out at the same time, and the war ended before any of them was ready for combat use. The infighting between various groups in the military also delayed development. Some extreme fighter designs, like the
''Komet''
''Komet''
and ''Natter'', also overlapped with SAMs in their intended uses.
Albert Speer Berthold Konrad Hermann Albert Speer (; ; March 19, 1905 – September 1, 1981) served as the Minister of Armaments and War Production in Nazi Germany Nazi Germany, (lit. "National Socialist State"), ' (lit. "Nazi State") for ...
was especially supportive of missile development. In his opinion, had they been consistently developed from the start, the large scale bomber raids of 1944 would have been impossible.


Allied efforts

The British developed unguided antiaircraft rockets (operated under the name Z Battery) close to the start of
World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a global war A world war is "a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literatur ...
, but the
air superiority The atmosphere of Earth is the layer of gas Gas is one of the four fundamental states of matter In physics Physics is the natural science that studies matter, its Elementary particle, fundamental constituents, its Motion (ph ...
usually held by the Allies meant that the demand for similar weapons was not as acute. When several Allied ships were sunk in 1943 by
Henschel Hs 293 The Henschel Hs 293 was a World War II Nazi Germany, German radio control, radio controlled glide bomb with a rocket engine slung underneath it that boosted the bomb in front of the launching bomber in order to make it more visible to the bomb aim ...
and
Fritz X Fritz X was the most common name for a German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For citizens of Germany, see also German nation ...

Fritz X
glide bomb A glide bomb or stand-off bomb is a standoff weapon Standoff weapons are missiles or bombs which may be launched from a distance sufficient to allow attacking personnel to evade defensive fire from the target area. Typically, they are used agai ...
s, Allied interest changed. These weapons were released from stand-off distances, with the bomber remaining outside the range of the ship's antiaircraft guns, and the missiles themselves were too small and fast to be attacked effectively. To combat this threat, the
U.S. Navy ), (unofficial)."''Non sibi sed patriae''" ( en, "Not for self but for country") (unofficial). , colors = Blue and gold  , colors_label = Colors , march = " Anchors Aweigh" ...
launched
Operation Bumblebee Operation Bumblebee was a US Navy effort to develop surface to air missiles (SAMs) to provide a mid-range layer of anti-aircraft defence, between anti-aircraft guns in the short range and fighter aircraft operating at long range. A major reason for ...
to develop a ramjet-powered missile to destroy the launching aircraft at long range. The initial performance goal was to target an intercept at a horizontal range of and altitude, with a warhead for a 30 to 60 percent kill probability. This weapon did not emerge for 16 years, when it entered operation as the
RIM-8 Talos The Bendix RIM-8 Talos was a long-range naval surface-to-air missile A surface-to-air missile (SAM), also known as a ground-to-air missile (GTAM) or surface-to-air guided weapon (SAGW), is a missile designed to be launched from the ground t ...
. Heavy shipping losses to ''
kamikaze , officially , were a part of the Japanese Special Attack Units of military aviation, military aviators who flew suicide attacks for the Empire of Japan against Allies of World War II, Allied naval vessels in the closing stages of the Pacific ...

kamikaze
'' attacks during the Liberation of the Philippines and the
Battle of Okinawa The , codenamed Operation Iceberg, was a major battle of the Pacific War The Pacific War, sometimes called the Asia–Pacific War, was the theater Theatre or theater is a collaborative form of performing art that uses live per ...

Battle of Okinawa
provided additional incentive for guided missile development. This led to the British ''
Fairey Stooge The Fairey Aviation Stooge was a command guided surface-to-air missile (SAM) development project carried out in the United Kingdom starting in World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was ...

Fairey Stooge
'' and ''
BrakemineBrakemine was an early surface-to-air missile A surface-to-air missile (SAM), also known as a ground-to-air missile (GTAM) or surface-to-air guided weapon (SAGW), is a missile designed to be launched from the ground to destroy aircraft or other ...
'' efforts, and the
U.S. Navy ), (unofficial)."''Non sibi sed patriae''" ( en, "Not for self but for country") (unofficial). , colors = Blue and gold  , colors_label = Colors , march = " Anchors Aweigh" ...
's SAM-N-2 Lark.Parsch 2003 The ''Lark'' ran into considerable difficulty and it never entered operational use. The end of the war led to the British efforts being used strictly for research and development throughout their lifetime.Taylor 1975, p.45


Post-war deployments

In the immediate post-war era, SAM developments were under way around the world, with several of these entering service in the early- and mid-1950s. Coming to the same conclusions as the Germans regarding flak, the
U.S. Army The United States Army (USA) is the land Land is the solid surface of Earth that is not permanently submerged in water. Most but not all land is situated at elevations above sea level (variable over geologic time frames) and consists ma ...
started its
Project Nike Project Nike (Greek: Νίκη, "Victory", pronounced ǐːkɛː was a U.S. Army The United States Army (USA) is the land Land is the solid surface of the Earth that is not permanently covered by water. The vast majority of human a ...
developments in 1944. Led by
Bell Labs Nokia Bell Labs (formerly named Bell Labs Innovations (1996–2007), AT&T Bell Laboratories (1984–1996) and Bell Telephone Laboratories (1925–1984)) is an American industrial research and scientific development company A company, ab ...
, the
Nike Ajax The United States Army The United States Army (USA) is the land military branch, service branch of the United States Armed Forces. It is one of the eight Uniformed services of the United States, U.S. uniformed services, and is designated a ...

Nike Ajax
was tested in production form in 1952, becoming the first operational SAM system when it was activated in March 1954."Nike Zeus"
, Flight International, 2 August 1962
Concerns about Ajax's ability to deal with formations of aircraft led to greatly updated version of the same basic design entering service in 1958 as the
Nike Hercules The Nike Hercules, initially designated SAM-A-25 and later MIM-14, was a surface-to-air missile A surface-to-air missile (SAM), also known as a ground-to-air missile (GTAM) or surface-to-air guided weapon (SAGW), is a missile In militar ...

Nike Hercules
, the first nuclear-armed SAM. The U.S. Army Air Forces had also considered collision-course weapons (like the German radio-controlled concepts) and launched Project Thumper in 1946. This was merged with another project, Wizard, and emerged as the
CIM-10 Bomarc The Boeing CIM-10 BOMARC (Boeing Michigan Aeronautical Research Center) (IM-99 Weapon System prior to September 1962) was a supersonic ramjet A ramjet, sometimes referred to as a flying stovepipe or an athodyd (aero thermodynamic duct), i ...
in 1959. The ''Bomarc'' had a range of over 500 km, but it was quite expensive and somewhat unreliable. Development of Oerlikon's
RSD 58 The RSD 58 is an early production surface-to-air missile A surface-to-air missile (SAM), also known as a ground-to-air missile (GTAM) or surface-to-air guided weapon (SAGW), is a missile In military terminology, a missile, also known as a ...
started in 1947, and was a closely held secret until 1955. Early versions of the missile were available for purchase as early as 1952, but never entered operational service. The RSD 58 used
beam riding Beam-riding, also known as Line-Of-Sight Beam Riding (LOSBR) or beam guidance, is a technique of directing a missile In military terminology, a missile is a missile guidance, guided airborne ranged weapon capable of self-propelled flight usu ...
guidance, which has limited performance against high-speed aircraft, as the missile is unable to "lead" the target to a collision point. Examples were purchased by several nations for testing and training purposes, but no operational sales were made. The
Soviet Union The Soviet Union,. officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (USSR),. was a that spanned during its existence from 1922 to 1991. It was nominally a of multiple national ; in practice and were highly until its final years. The ...
began development of a SAM system in earnest with the opening of the
Cold War The Cold War was a period of geopolitical Geopolitics (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country loc ...
.
Joseph Stalin ( – 5 March 1953) was a Georgians, Georgian revolutionary and Soviet political leader who governed the Soviet Union from 1924 until his death in 1953. He held power both as General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (1922–1952 ...
was worried that
Moscow Moscow ( , American English, US chiefly ; rus, links=no, Москва, r=Moskva, p=mɐˈskva, a=Москва.ogg) is the Capital city, capital and List of cities and towns in Russia by population, largest city of Russia. The city stands on the ...

Moscow
would be subjected to American and British air raids, like those against
Berlin Berlin (; ) is the Capital city, capital and List of cities in Germany by population, largest city of Germany by both area and population. Its 3,769,495 inhabitants, as of 31 December 2019 makes it the List of cities in the European Union by ...

Berlin
, and, in 1951, he demanded that a missile system to counter a 900 bomber raid be built as quickly as possible. This led to the
S-25 Berkut The S-25 ''Berkut'' (russian: С-25 «Беркут»; "Berkut" means golden eagle The golden eagle (''Aquila chrysaetos'') is a bird of prey living in the Northern Hemisphere. It is the most widely distributed species of eagle. Like all eag ...

S-25 Berkut
system (SA-1 in NATO terminology), which was designed, developed and deployed in a rush program. Early units entered operational service on 7 May 1955, and the entire system ringing Moscow was completely activated by June 1956. The S-25 was a static system, but efforts were also put into a smaller design that would be much more mobile. This emerged in 1957 as the famous
S-75 Dvina The S-75 (Russian: С-75; NATO reporting name NATO reporting names are code names for military equipment from Russia, China, and historically, the Eastern Bloc (Soviet Union and other nations of the Warsaw Pact). They provide unambiguous and ea ...

S-75 Dvina
(SA-2), a portable system, with very high performance, that remained in operation into the 2000s. The Soviet Union remained at the forefront of SAM development throughout its history; and Russia has followed suit. The early British developments with ''Stooge'' and ''Brakemine'' were successful, but further development was curtailed in the post-war era. These efforts picked up again with the opening of the cold war, following the "Stage Plan" of improving UK air defences with new radars, fighters and missiles. Two competing designs were proposed for "Stage 1", based on common radar and control units, and these emerged as the RAF's
Bristol Bloodhound The Bristol Bloodhound is a British ramjet A ramjet, sometimes referred to as a flying stovepipe or an athodyd (aero thermodynamic duct), is a form of airbreathing jet engine An airbreathing jet engine (or ''ducted jet engine'') is a jet ...

Bristol Bloodhound
in 1958, and the Army's
English Electric Thunderbird The English Electric Thunderbird was a British surface-to-air missile A surface-to-air missile (SAM), also known as a ground-to-air missile (GTAM) or surface-to-air guided weapon (SAGW), is a missile In military terminology, a missile i ...
in 1959. A third design followed the American ''Bumblebee'' efforts in terms of role and timeline, and entered service in 1961 as the
Sea Slug Sea slug is a common name for some Marine biology, marine invertebrates with varying levels of resemblance to terrestrial slugs. Most creatures known as sea slugs are actually gastropods, i.e. they are sea snails (marine gastropod mollusks) th ...
.


War in Vietnam

The Vietnam War was the first modern war in which guided antiaircraft missiles seriously challenged highly advanced supersonic jet aircraft. It would also be the first and only time that the latest and most modern
air defense Anti-aircraft warfare or counter-air defence is the battlespace Battle-space is a term used to signify a unified military strategy Military strategy is a set of ideas implemented by military organizations to pursue desired strategic goal ...

air defense
technologies of the
Soviet Union The Soviet Union,. officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (USSR),. was a that spanned during its existence from 1922 to 1991. It was nominally a of multiple national ; in practice and were highly until its final years. The ...
and the most modern jet
fighter plane Fighter aircraft are fixed-wing aircraft, fixed-wing military aircraft designed primarily for air-to-air combat. In military conflict, the role of fighter aircraft is to establish air supremacy, air superiority of the battlespace. Domination o ...
s and
bombers A bomber is a combat aircraft A military aircraft is any fixed-wing or rotary-wing aircraft An aircraft is a vehicle that is able to flight, fly by gaining support from the Atmosphere of Earth, air. It counters the force of gravity by ...

bombers
of the United States confronted each other in combat. Nearly 17,000 Soviet missile technicians and operator/instructors deployed to
North Vietnam North Vietnam, officially the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (DRV; vi, Việt Nam Dân chủ Cộng hòa), was a state in Southeast Asia from 1945 to 1954, and a country from 1954 to 1976. During the August Revolution following World War ...

North Vietnam
in 1965 to help defend
Hanoi , population_total = 8,053,663 ( 2nd) , population_as_of = 2019 , population_demonym = Hanoian , population_density_km2 = auto , population_urban = 3,962,310 , population_density_urban_km2 = 14708.8 , popula ...

Hanoi
against American
bomber A bomber is a combat aircraft designed to attack ground and naval targets by dropping air-to-ground weaponry (such as bombs), launching aerial torpedo, torpedoes, or deploying air-launched cruise missiles. The first use of bombs dropped from an ...
s, while North Vietnamese missilemen completed their six to nine months of SAM training in the Soviet Union. From 1965 through all of 1966, nearly all of the 48 U.S. jet aircraft shot down by SA-2s over North Vietnam were downed by Soviet missile men. During the course of the air defense of North Vietnam in 1966–1967, one Russian SAM operator, Lieutenant Vadim Petrovich Shcherbakov, was credited with destroying 12 U.S. aircraft from 20 engagements. The
USAF The United States Air Force (USAF) is the Aerial warfare, air military branch, service branch of the United States Armed Forces, and is one of the eight uniformed services of the United States, U.S. uniformed services. Initially formed as a ...
responded to this threat with increasingly effective means. Early efforts to directly attack the missiles sites as part of Operation Spring High and Operation Iron Hand were generally unsuccessful, but the introduction of
Wild Weasel Wild Weasel is a code name A code name, call sign or cryptonym is a Code word (figure of speech), code word or name used, sometimes clandestinely, to refer to another name, word, project, or person. Code names are often used for military p ...
aircraft carrying s and the Standard ARM missile changed the situation dramatically. Feint and counterfeint followed as each side introduced new tactics to try to gain the upper hand. By the time of
Operation Linebacker II Operation Linebacker II was a US Seventh Air Force and U.S. Navy Task Force 77 aerial bombing campaign, conducted against targets in the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (North Vietnam North Vietnam, officially the Democratic Republic o ...
in 1972, the Americans had gained critical information about the performance and operations of the S-75 (by Arab's S-75 systems were captured by Israel), and used these missions as a way to demonstrate the capability of
strategic bomber A strategic bomber is a medium- to long-range penetration bomber A bomber is a combat aircraft designed to attack ground and naval targets by dropping air-to-ground weaponry (such as bombs), launching aerial torpedo, torpedoes, or deploying ...
s to operate in a SAM saturated environment. Their first missions appeared to demonstrate the exact opposite, with the loss of three B-52s and several others damaged in a single mission. Dramatic changes followed, and by the end of the series missions were carried out with additional chaff, ECM, Iron Hand, and other changes dramatically changed the score. By the conclusion of the Linebacker II campaign, the shootdown rate of the S-75 against the B-52s was 7.52% (15 B-52s were shot down, 5 B-52s were heavily damaged for 266 missiles) During the war, The Soviet Union supplied 7,658 SAMs to North Vietnam, and their defense forces conducted about 5,800 launches, usually in multiples of three. By the war's end, the U.S lost 3,374 aircraft in combat. However, U.S confirmed only 205 aircraft had been lost to North Vietnamese surface-to-air missiles. Many of the U.S aircraft "crashed in flight accidents", in fact, were crashed due to S-75 missiles. When landing at an airfield in Thailand, one B-52 was heavily damaged by SAM, rolled out of the runway and blown up on mines installed around the airfield to protect the guerrillas, only one crewman survived. Subsequently, this B-52 was counted as "crashed in flight accidents".


Smaller, faster

All of these early systems were "heavyweight" designs with limited mobility and requiring considerable set-up time. However, they were also increasingly effective. By the early 1960s, the deployment of SAMs had rendered high-speed high-altitude flight in combat practically suicidal.The introduction of effective SAMs led to the cancellation of the B-70 bomber, and the prohibition of manned recce flights over the Soviet Union. Even aircraft with extreme performance, like the SR-71, were hit by SAMs on occasions. The way to avoid this was to fly lower, below the line-of-sight of missile's radar systems. This demanded very different aircraft, like the
F-111 The General Dynamics F-111 Aardvark is a retired supersonic, medium-range, multirole aircraft, multirole combat aircraft. Production variants of the F-111 had roles that included attack aircraft, ground attack (e.g. Air interdiction, interdic ...
,
TSR-2 The British Aircraft Corporation TSR-2 was a cancelled Cold War The Cold War was a period of geopolitical Geopolitics (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( e ...

TSR-2
, and
Panavia Tornado The Panavia Tornado is a family of twin-engine, variable-sweep wing A variable-sweep wing, colloquially known as a "swing wing", is an airplane An airplane or aeroplane (informally plane) is a fixed-wing aircraft that is propel ...
. Consequently, SAMs evolved rapidly in the 1960s. As their targets were now being forced to fly lower due to the presence of the larger missiles, engagements would necessarily be at short ranges, and occur quickly. Shorter ranges meant the missiles could be much smaller, which aided them in terms of mobility. By the mid-1960s, almost all modern armed forces had short-range missiles mounted on trucks or light armour that could move with the armed forces they protected. Examples include the
2K12 Kub The 2K12 ''"Kub"'' (russian: 2К12 "Куб"; en, cube In geometry, a cube is a three-dimensional space, three-dimensional solid object bounded by six square (geometry), square faces, Facet (geometry), facets or sides, with three meeting a ...
(SA-6) and
9K33 Osa The 9K33 ''Osa'' (, literally "wasp A wasp is any insect of the narrow-waisted suborder Apocrita of the order Hymenoptera which is neither a bee nor an ant; this excludes the broad-waisted sawflies (Symphyta), which look somewhat like w ...
(SA-8),
MIM-23 Hawk The Raytheon MIM-23 HAWK ("Homing All the Way Killer, commonly referred to as "Hawk") is an American medium-range surface-to-air missile. It was designed to be a much more mobile counterpart to the MIM-14 Nike Hercules, trading off range and alti ...
,
Rapier A rapier () or is a type of sword with a slender and sharply-pointed two-edged blade that was popular in Western Europe, both for civilian use (dueling and self-defense) and as a military Sidearm (weapon), side arm, throughout the 16th and 17th ...
,
Roland Roland (; frk, *Hrōþiland; lat-med, Hruodlandus or ''Rotholandus''; it, Orlando or ''Rolando''; died 15 August 778) was a Frankish Frankish may refer to: * Franks The Franks ( la, Franci or ) were a group of Germanic peoples The ...

Roland
and Crotale. The introduction of sea-skimming missiles in the late 1960s and 1970s led to additional mid- and short-range designs for defence against these targets. The UK's
Sea Cat Seacat was a British short-range surface-to-air missile A surface-to-air missile (SAM), also known as a ground-to-air missile (GTAM) or surface-to-air guided weapon (SAGW), is a missile In military terminology, a missile, also known as ...
was an early example that was designed specifically to replace the
Bofors 40 mm The Bofors 40 mm gun, often referred to simply as the Bofors gun, is an anti-aircraft Anti-aircraft warfare or counter-air defence is the battlespace response to aerial warfare, defined by NATO The North Atlantic Treaty Organi ...
gun on its mount, and became the first operational point-defense SAM. The American
RIM-7 Sea Sparrow RIM-7 Sea Sparrow is a U.S. ship-borne short-range Surface-to-air missile, anti-aircraft and anti-missile weapon system, primarily intended for defense against anti-ship missiles. The system was developed in the early 1960s from the AIM-7 Sparrow ...
quickly proliferated into a wide variety of designs fielded by most navies. Many of these are adapted from earlier mobile designs, but the special needs of the naval role has resulted in the continued existence of many custom missiles.


MANPADS

As aircraft moved ever lower, and missile performance continued to improve, eventually it became possible to build an effective man-portable anti-aircraft missile. Known as
MANPADS Man-portable air-defense systems (MANPADS or MPADS) are portable surface-to-air missile A surface-to-air missile (SAM), also known as a ground-to-air missile (GTAM) or surface-to-air guided weapon (SAGW), is a missile In military termi ...
, the first example was a Royal Navy system known as the
Holman Projector The Holman Projector was an anti-aircraft warfare, anti-aircraft weapon used by the Royal Navy during World War II, primarily between early 1940 and late 1941. The weapon was proposed and designed by Holman Bros Ltd, Holmans, a machine tool manufa ...
, used as a last-ditch weapon on smaller ships. The Germans also produced a similar short-range weapon known as Fliegerfaust, but it entered operation only on a very limited scale. The performance gap between this weapon and jet fighters of the post-war era was so great that such designs would not be effective. By the 1960s, technology had closed this gap to a degree, leading to the introduction of the
FIM-43 Redeye The General Dynamics General Dynamics Corporation (GD) is an American publicly traded A public company, publicly traded company, publicly held company, publicly listed company, or public limited company A public limited company (legally a ...
,
SA-7 Grail The 9K32 Strela-2 (russian: Cтрела, "arrow"; NATO reporting name NATO reporting names are code names for military equipment from Russia, China, and historically, the Eastern Bloc (Soviet Union and other nations of the Warsaw Pact). They ...
and Blowpipe. Rapid improvement in the 1980s led to second generation designs, like the
FIM-92 Stinger The FIM-92 Stinger is a man-portable air-defense system Man-portable air-defense systems (MANPADS or MPADS) are portable surface-to-air missile A surface-to-air missile (SAM), also known as a ground-to-air missile (GTAM) or surface-to-air ...
,
9K34 Strela-3 The 9K34 Strela-3 (russian: 9К34 «Стрела-3», 'arrow', NATO reporting name NATO reporting names are code names for military equipment from Russia, China, and historically, the Eastern Bloc (Soviet Union and other nations of the Warsaw P ...
(SA-14) and
Starstreak Starstreak is a British short range man-portable air-defence system Man-portable air-defense systems (MANPADS or MPADS) are portable surface-to-air missiles. They are guided weapons and are a threat to low-flying aircraft, especially helicopter ...
, with dramatically improved performance. By the 1990s to the 2010s, the Chinese had developed designs drawing influence from these, notably the
FN-6 FN-6 or Feinu-6 () is a third generation passive infrared homing Infrared homing is a passive weapon guidance system which uses the infrared Infrared (IR), sometimes called infrared light, is (EMR) with s longer than those of . It is t ...

FN-6
. Through the evolution of SAMs, improvements were also being made to
anti-aircraft artillery Anti-aircraft warfare or counter-air defence is the battlespace Battle-space is a term used to signify a unified military strategy Military strategy is a set of ideas implemented by military organization Military organization or milit ...
, but the missiles pushed them into ever shorter-range roles. By the 1980s, the only remaining widespread use was point-defense of airfields and ships, especially against
cruise missile A cruise missile is a Missile, guided missile used against terrestrial targets, that remains in the atmosphere and flies the major portion of its flight path at approximately constant speed. Cruise missiles are designed to deliver a large warhea ...
s. By the 1990s, even these roles were being encroached on by new MANPADS and similar short-range weapons, like the
RIM-116 Rolling Airframe Missile The RIM-116 Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM) is a small, lightweight, infrared homing surface-to-air missile in use by the German Navy, German, Japanese Navy, Japanese, Hellenic Navy, Greek, Turkish Navy, Turkish, Republic of Korea Navy, South Kor ...

RIM-116 Rolling Airframe Missile
.


General information

Surface-to-air missiles are classified by their guidance, mobility,
altitude Altitude or height (also sometimes known as depth) is a distance measurement, usually in the vertical or "up" direction, between a reference datum Data (; ) are individual facts A fact is something that is truth, true. The usual t ...

altitude
and
range Range may refer to: Geography * Range (geographic), a chain of hills or mountains; a somewhat linear, complex mountainous or hilly area (cordillera, sierra) ** Mountain range, a group of mountains bordered by lowlands * Range, a term used to i ...
.


Mobility, maneuverability and range

Missiles able to fly longer distances are generally heavier, and therefore less mobile. This leads to three "natural" classes of SAM systems; heavy long-range systems that are fixed or semi-mobile, medium-range vehicle-mounted systems that can fire on the move, and short-range
man-portable air-defense system Man-portable air-defense systems (MANPADS or MPADS) are portable surface-to-air missiles. They are guided weapons and are a threat to low-flying aircraft, especially helicopters. Overview MANPADS were developed in the 1950s to provide military g ...
s (MANPADS). Modern long-range weapons include the Patriot and
S-300 (missile) The S-300 (NATO reporting name NATO reporting names are code names for military equipment from Russia, China, and historically, the Eastern Bloc (Soviet Union and other nations of the Warsaw Pact). They provide unambiguous and easily understo ...
systems, which have effective ranges on the order of 150 km, and offer relatively good mobility and short unlimbering times. These compare with older systems with similar or less range, like the
MIM-14 Nike Hercules The Nike Hercules, initially designated SAM-A-25 and later MIM-14, was a surface-to-air missile A surface-to-air missile (SAM), also known as a ground-to-air missile (GTAM) or surface-to-air guided weapon (SAGW), is a missile In militar ...

MIM-14 Nike Hercules
or
S-75 Dvina The S-75 (Russian: С-75; NATO reporting name NATO reporting names are code names for military equipment from Russia, China, and historically, the Eastern Bloc (Soviet Union and other nations of the Warsaw Pact). They provide unambiguous and ea ...

S-75 Dvina
, which required fixed sites of considerable size. Much of this performance increase is due to improved rocket fuels and ever-smaller electronics in the guidance systems. Some very long-range systems remain, notably the Russian
S-400 The S-400 Triumf (russian: link=no, C-400 Триумф - Triumf; translation: Triumph; NATO reporting name NATO reporting names are code names for military equipment from Russia, China, and historically, the Eastern Bloc (Soviet Union and oth ...
, which has a range of 400 km."S-400 missile defense systems to start defending Moscow July 1"
, RIA Novosti, 21 May 2007
Medium-range designs, like the
Rapier A rapier () or is a type of sword with a slender and sharply-pointed two-edged blade that was popular in Western Europe, both for civilian use (dueling and self-defense) and as a military Sidearm (weapon), side arm, throughout the 16th and 17th ...
and
2K12 Kub The 2K12 ''"Kub"'' (russian: 2К12 "Куб"; en, cube In geometry, a cube is a three-dimensional space, three-dimensional solid object bounded by six square (geometry), square faces, Facet (geometry), facets or sides, with three meeting a ...
, are specifically designed to be highly mobile with very fast, or zero, setup times. Many of these designs were mounted on armoured vehicles, allowing them to keep pace with mobile operations in a conventional war. Once a major group onto itself, medium-range designs have seen less development since the 1990s, as the focus has changed to unconventional warfare. Developments have also been made in onboard maneuverability. Israel's
David's Sling David's Sling ( he, קלע דוד, Kela David), also formerly known as Magic Wand ( he , שרביט קסמים, Sharvit Ksamim , links= no), is an Israel Defense Forces The Israel Defense Forces (IDF; he, צְבָא הַהֲגָנָה לְי ...
Stunner missile is designed to intercept the newest generation of tactical ballistic missiles at low altitude. The multi-stage interceptor consists of a solid-fuel, rocket motor booster, followed by an asymmetrical with advanced steering for super-maneuverability during the kill-stage. A three-pulse motor provides additional acceleration and maneuverability during the terminal phase. MANPAD systems first developed in the 1960s and proved themselves in battle during the 1970s. MANPADS normally have ranges on the order of 3 km and are effective against attack helicopters and aircraft making ground attacks. Against fixed wing aircraft, they can be very effective, forcing them to fly outside the missile's envelope and thereby greatly reducing their effectiveness in ground-attack roles. MANPAD systems are sometimes used with vehicle mounts to improve maneuverability, like the Avenger system. These systems have encroached on the performance niche formerly filled by dedicated mid-range systems. Ship-based anti-aircraft missiles are also considered to be SAMs, although in practice it is expected that they would be more widely used against
sea skimming Sea skimming is a technique many anti-ship missiles and some fighter or strike aircraft use to avoid radar Radar (radio detection and ranging) is a detection system that uses radio waves to determine the distance (''ranging''), angle, or ve ...
missiles rather than aircraft. Virtually all surface
warships A warship or combatant ship is a naval ship A naval ship is a military (or sometimes , depending on classification) used by a . Naval ships are differentiated from civilian ships by construction and purpose. Generally, naval ships ar ...
can be armed with SAMs, and naval SAMs are a necessity for all front-line surface warships. Some warship types specialize in anti-air warfare e.g. ''Ticonderoga''-class cruisers equipped with the or ''Kirov'' class cruisers with the
S-300PMU The S-300 (NATO reporting name NATO reporting names are code names for military equipment from Russia, China, and historically, the Eastern Bloc (Soviet Union and other nations of the Warsaw Pact). They provide unambiguous and easily understo ...
''Favorite'' missile system. Modern Warships may carry all three types (from long-range to short-range) of SAMs as a part of their multi-layered air defence.


Guidance systems

SAM systems generally fall into two broad groups based on their guidance systems, those using
radar Radar (radio detection and ranging) is a detection system that uses radio waves to determine the distance (''ranging''), angle, or velocity of objects. It can be used to detect aircraft, Marine radar, ships, spacecraft, guided missiles, motor ...

radar
and those using some other means. Longer range missiles generally use radar for early detection and guidance. Early SAM systems generally used tracking radars and fed guidance information to the missile using
radio control Radio control (often abbreviated to R/C or simply RC) is the use of control signal In telecommunication, signaling is the use of signals for controlling communications. This may constitute an information exchange concerning the establishment ...
concepts, referred to in the field as
command guidance Command guidance is a type of missile guidance Missile guidance refers to a variety of methods of guiding a missile or a guided bomb to its intended target. The missile's target accuracy is a critical factor for its effectiveness. Guidance syst ...
. Through the 1960s, the
semi-active radar homing Semi-active radar homing (SARH) is a common type of missile guidance Missile guidance refers to a variety of methods of guiding a missile or a guided bomb to its intended target. The missile's target accuracy is a critical factor for its eff ...
(SARH) concept became much more common. In SARH, the reflections of the tracking radar's broadcasts are picked up by a receiver in the missile, which homes in on this signal. SARH has the advantage of leaving most of the equipment on the ground, while also eliminating the need for the ground station to communicate with the missile after launch. Smaller missiles, especially MANPADS, generally use
infrared homing Infrared homing is a Missile guidance#Passive homing, passive weapon guidance system which uses the infrared (IR) light emission from a target to track and follow it. Missiles which use infrared seeking are often referred to as "heat-seekers" si ...
guidance systems. These have the advantage of being "fire-and-forget", once launched they will home on the target on their own with no external signals needed. In comparison, SARH systems require the tracking radar to illuminate the target, which may require them to be exposed through the attack. Systems combining an infrared seeker as a
terminal guidance In the field of weaponry A weapon, arm or armament is any implement or device that can be used with the intent to inflict damage or harm. Weapons are used to increase the efficacy and efficiency of activities such as hunting, crime, law enforce ...
system on a missile using SARH are also known, like the
MIM-46 Mauler 300px, MIM-46 Mauler prototype. The General Dynamics Mauler was a self-propelled Surface-to-air missile, anti-aircraft missile system designed to a late 1950s US Army requirement for a system to combat low-flying high-performance Ground-attack ai ...

MIM-46 Mauler
, but these are generally rare. Some newer short-range systems use a variation of the SARH technique, but based on
laser A laser is a device that emits light Light or visible light is electromagnetic radiation within the portion of the electromagnetic spectrum that is visual perception, perceived by the human eye. Visible light is usually defined as h ...

laser
illumination instead of radar. These have the advantage of being small and very fast acting, as well as highly accurate. A few older designs use purely optical tracking and command guidance, perhaps the best known example of this is the British ''
Rapier A rapier () or is a type of sword with a slender and sharply-pointed two-edged blade that was popular in Western Europe, both for civilian use (dueling and self-defense) and as a military Sidearm (weapon), side arm, throughout the 16th and 17th ...
'' system, which was initially an all-optical system with high accuracy. All SAM systems from the smallest to the largest generally include identified as friend or foe (IFF) systems to help identify the target before being engaged. While IFF is not as important with MANPADs, as the target is almost always visually identified prior to launch, most modern MANPADs do include it.


Target acquisition

Long-range systems generally use radar systems for target detection, and depending on the generation of system, may "hand off" to a separate tracking radar for attack. Short range systems are more likely to be entirely visual for detection. Hybrid systems are also common. The
MIM-72 Chaparral The MIM-72A/M48 Chaparral was an American self-propelled surface-to-air missile A surface-to-air missile (SAM), also known as a ground-to-air missile (GTAM) or surface-to-air guided weapon (SAGW), is a missile In military terminology, ...

MIM-72 Chaparral
was fired optically, but normally operated with a short range early warning radar that displayed targets to the operator. This radar, the FAAR, was taken into the field with a
Gama Goat The Gama Goat is a six-wheel drive Oshkosh MTVR, a six-wheel drive military truck with full-time all-wheel drive and super-single tires on all axles Six-wheel drive (6WD or 6×6) is an AWD (vehicle), all-wheel drive drivetrain configuration of ...
and set up behind the lines. Information was passed to the ''Chaparral'' via a
data link A data link is the means of connecting one location to another for the purpose of transmitting and receiving digital information (data communication Data transmission and data reception (or, more broadly, data communication or digital communi ...
. Likewise, the UK's Rapier system included a simple radar that displayed the rough direction of a target on a series of lamps arranged in a circle. The missile operator would point his telescope in that rough direction and then hunt for the target visually.


See also

*
List of surface-to-air missiles This is a list of surface-to-air missiles (SAMs). World War II * Enzian – Nazi Germany Nazi Germany, (lit. "National Socialist State"), ' (lit. "Nazi State") for short; also ' (lit. "National Socialist Germany") officially known as th ...
*
Anti-aircraft warfare Anti-aircraft warfare or counter-air defence is the battlespace Battle-space is a term used to signify a unified military strategy Military strategy is a set of ideas implemented by military organization Military organization or milit ...
*
Man-portable air-defense systems Man-portable air-defense systems (MANPADS or MPADS) are portable surface-to-air missiles. They are guided weapons and are a threat to low-flying aircraft, especially helicopters. Overview MANPADS were developed in the 1950s to provide military g ...
*
Missile guidance Missile guidance refers to a variety of methods of guiding a missile In military terminology, a missile is a missile guidance, guided airborne ranged weapon capable of self-propelled flight usually by a jet engine or rocket motor. Missiles ...
*
List of NATO reporting names for surface-to-air missiles NATO reporting name for SA series surface-to-air missiles, with Soviet Union, Soviet GRAU, designations: * SA-1 Guild, SA-1 "SA-1 Guild, Guild" (S-25 ''Berkut'') * SA-2 Guideline, SA-2 "S-75 Dvina, Guideline" (S-75 ''Dvina''/''Volkhov''/''Desna'') ...
*
List of missiles A ''list'' is any set of items. List or lists may also refer to: People * List (surname)List or Liste is a European surname. Notable people with the surname include: List * Friedrich List (1789–1846), German economist * Garrett List (194 ...
*
List of anti-aircraft weapons List of antiaircraft weapons. See also antiaircraft warfare Anti-aircraft warfare or counter-air defence is the battlespace Battle-space is a term used to signify a unified military strategy Military strategy is a set of ideas implemente ...
*
Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses (SEAD, pronounced ), also known in the United States as "Wild Weasel File:Wild Weasels patch.jpg, Wild Weasel patch. The letters at the bottom stand for "You gotta be shitting me." Wild Weasel is a code name ...
(SEAD), the mission of finding and destroying SAM and AA gun installations. The SEAD mission in the
United States Air Force The United States Air Force (USAF) is the air File:Atmosphere gas proportions.svg, Composition of Earth's atmosphere by volume, excluding water vapor. Lower pie represents trace gases that together compose about 0.043391% of the atmosph ...

United States Air Force
is designated "
Wild Weasel Wild Weasel is a code name A code name, call sign or cryptonym is a Code word (figure of speech), code word or name used, sometimes clandestinely, to refer to another name, word, project, or person. Code names are often used for military p ...
".


References

;Notes ;Citations ;Bibliography *Davies, Peter. ''F-105 Wild Weasel vs SA-2 "guideline" SAM, Vietnam 1965–73.'' Osprey 2011. . *Hobson, Chris. ''Vietnam Air Losses, United States Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps Fixed-Wing Aircraft Losses in Southeast Asia 1961–1973. Midland Publishing 2001. . *Michel III, Marshal L. ''Clashes, Air Combat Over North Vietnam 1965–1972.'' 1997, Naval Institute Press. *
ArtOfWar. Шеломытов Геннадий Яковлевич. Все считали, что такого не могло быть никогдаÓêðà¿íñüêà Ñï³ëêà âåòåðàí³â Àôãàí³ñòàíó (âî¿í³â-³íòåðíàö³îíàë³ñò³â) - Âüåòíàì. Êàê ýòî áûëî


External links

*
Rest-of-World Missile Systems
from the
Federation of American Scientists The Federation of American Scientists (FAS) is an American nonprofit A nonprofit organization (NPO), also known as a non-business entity, not-for-profit organization, or nonprofit institution, is a legal entity organized and operated for ...
website {{DEFAULTSORT:Surface-To-Air Missile Anti-aircraft weapons Missile types