9K32 Strela-2M | NATO: SA-7 Grail
The 9K32 Strela-2 is a Cold War era man portable SAM system of Soviet origin. In the West it is known by the NATO reporting name SA-7 Grail. The 9K32 was developed as a more capable alternative to anti-aircraft guns for engaging fighter jets. The Strela-2 was the first Soviet MANPADS and became the most widely used system in the world.
The Strela-2 has a conventional design. It is an infrared guided missile with the seeker in the nose. This is followed by the warhead section and the rocket engine. A booster launches the missile from the gripstock launcher and provides initial velocity. The missile has four small wings at the front for steering and larger folding wings near the nozzle for stability. The gripstock launcher consists of a launch tube, sight unit, battery unit and trigger group.
The Strela-2 uses an infrared seeker that proved rather easy to mislead with flares. The warhead is also rather small. Only receding fighter jets can be engaged. The original Strela-2 has a maximum range of 3.4 km and ceiling of 1.5 km. The improved Strela-2M uses a higher thrust propellant to reach a range of 4.2 km and ceiling of 2.3 km. The improved seeker in the Strela-2M allows all aspect engagement of helicopters and propeller aircraft.
The Strela-2 is a very mobile system as the missile and its gripstock launcher are man portable, even over longer ranges. The system is operated by a single person. A four round launcher is used on ships of various sizes.
The Strela-2 was adopted in large quantity by Soviet forces. Even with improved models such as Strela-3 and Igla in service, the Strela-2 remained in use for a long time. The Strela-2 was exported in large quantities and has been produced in numerous nations with or without license. This makes the Strela-2 the most ubiquitous MANPADS in the world. It has been used in various conflicts from the 1970’s to present day with mixed success. The Strela-2 is commonly encountered in Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Asia, Africa and South America.
launcher with 5 missiles