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The Main Missile and Artillery Directorate of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation (Russian: Гла́вное раке́тно-артиллери́йское управле́ние Министе́рства оборо́ны Росси́йской Федера́ции (ГРАУ Миноборо́ны Росси́и), tr. Glávnoye rakétno-artilleríyskoye upravléniye Ministérstva oboróny Rossíyskoy Federátsii (GRAU Minoboróny Rossíi)), commonly referred to by its transliterated Russian acronym GRAU (ГРАУ), is a department of the Russian (ex-Soviet) Ministry of Defense. It is subordinate to the Chief of Armament and Munition of the Russian Armed Forces, a vice-minister of defense.

The organization dates back to 1862 when it was established under the name Главное артиллерийское управление (ГАУ – GAU). The "R" from "rockets" was added to the title in 1960.

In particular, the GRAU is responsible for assigning GRAU indices to Russian army munitions and equipment.

Arsenals of the GRAU, according to Kommersant-Vlast in 2005, include the 60th at Kaluga, the 55th at Rzhev, the 75th at Serpukhov south of Moscow, (all three in the Moscow Military District) and the 80th at Gagarskiy, the 116th at Krasno-Oktyabrskiy and the 5th, all in the Volga–Urals Military District.[1]

As of March 2014, the current Chief of the GRAU is Lieutenant General Nikolay Parshin.

GRAU indices before 1950

Current GRAU indices

GRAU indices are of the form <number> <letter> <number>, sometimes with a further suffix <letter> <number>. They may be followed by a specially assigned codename. For example «2 S 19  Msta-S», the 2S19 Msta self-propelled howitzer, has the index 2S19, without suffix; Msta-S is the codename.

Misconceptions

Several common misconceptions surround the scope and originating body of these indices. The GRAU designation is not an industrial designation, nor is it assigned by the design bureau. In addition to its GRAU designation, a given piece of equipment could have a design name, an industrial name and a service designation.

For example, one of the surface-to-air missiles in the S-25 Berkut air defense system had at least four domestic designations:

Some Soviet general-purpose bombs bore a designation that looked confusingly similar to GRAU.[note 1]

Designation scheme

The first part of a GRAU index is a number indicating which of the several main categories of equipment a given item belongs to. The second part, a Cyrillic character, indicates the subcategory. The third part, a number, indicates the specific model. The optional suffix can be used to differentiate variants of the same model.

1 (Radio and electronics equipment)

2 (Artillery systems)

3 (Army and naval missiles)

4 (Naval missiles and army equipment (munitions, reactive armour, etc.))

5 (Air defense equipment)

* 51T6 (SH-11/ABM-4 Gorgone), an exoatmospheric anti-ballistic missile interceptor for the A-135 air defense system
* 53T6 (SH-08/ABM-3 Gazelle), an endoatmospheric interceptor for A-135 air defense system

6 (Firearms, air defense equipment)