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ZRK-SD Kub 3M9
SA-6 Gainful

The SA-6 GAINFUL is a two stage, solid-fuel, low-altitude SAM. It has radio command guidance with semi-active radar terminal homing. Development of the 3M9 antiaircraft missile for the Kub [Cube] system ended the career of Ivan Ivanovich Toporov, founder of the OKB-134 Special Engineering Office. The missile designed had not been experimentally verified, and it became necessary not only to build the missile but also to simultaneouly conduct basic research. During the initial test launch in 1961, the 3M9 missiles disintegrated in the air. The associated aerodynamic, engine, and guidance problems compelled Toporov to ask the Ministry of Armaments to extend the deadline for submitting the 3M9 to governmental tests. Toporov was removed from his post of chief engineer at the end of August 1961, becoming department chairman at the Moscow Institute of Aviation, and replaced by Andrey Lyapinov as director of the team. This did not accelerate the work on the 3M9.

Finally in 1966 the missile together with all the Kub equipment was certified as an operational weapon, and it turned out to be one of the most successful Russian antiaircraft missiles. Although it is frequently reported that a naval version of the missile is the SA-N-3 GOBLET, this is evdiently not the case.

The SA-6a missile has a length of 5.7 meters, body diameter of 0.335 meters, a wing span of 1.245 meters, a tail span of 1.524 meters and has a launch weight of 599 kilograms with a 56 kilogram HE-fragmentation warhead. The proximity and contact fuses are armed after some 50 meters of flight. The basic SA-6a has a maximum effective range of 24,000m and has a minimum effective range of 3,000m, the minimum engagement height is 100m when using the fire control (STRAIGHT FLUSH) radar and 80m when in the optical tracking mode, the maximum effective altitude is about 11,000m.

A battery is able to relocate to an alternate firing position in approximately 15 minutes from systems being shutdown. In 1977, a new version - the SA-6b Gainful, was mounted on an SPU medium-tracked transporter. The SPU carried three SA-6b missiles and also an associated FIRE DOME H/I-band missile guidance illuminator radar is fitted on the front end of the launcher assembly. Reload missiles are carried on modified 6x6 trucks and are loaded manually onto the launcher by a crane carried on the rear of the loader vehicle. Reloading an TEL takes approximately 10 minutes.

The STRAIGHT FLUSH fire control radar has a maximum range of 55 - 75km and a 10,000m altitude capability depending upon the conditions and target size, and performs limited search, low altitude detection and/or acquisition, pulse Doppler IFF interrogation, target tracking & illumination, missile radar command guidance and secondary radar missile tracking functions. Some modified fire control (STRAIGHT FLUSH) radars use a TV camera with a 30km range to enable the battery to remain in action even if the vehicle's radar is jammed or forced to shut down due to threats from anti-radiation missiles. This radar can also be linked to the launch vehicles by either a radio data link or a 10m long cable for direct data input to the launcher's systems. The data link antenna is carried on the right forward hull corner of the TEL. It also carries the fire control computers for the SA-6 Gainful missile battery.

The foldable 28km range dish antenna is of the conical scanning type and is used for low altitude H-band sector search scans, target tracking and target illumination. The lower parabolic antenna is the G-band medium altitude target acquisition and early warning radar with a 55-75km range, with the lower feed for medium to high altitude coverage and the upper feed for low altitude coverage.

The STRAIGHT FLUSH fire control radar can begin target acquisition at its maximum range of 75km, and begin tracking & illumination at 28km. The STRAIGHT FLUSH radar can only illuminate a single target and control three missiles at any one time so normal practice when a target track has been initiated is to normally order the launch of two and sometimes three weapons from one or more TELs.




Fire control/short range target acquisition
Can guide three missiles simultaneosly


60-90km, 10,000m alt


G/H band (acquisition, I band (tracking)

Associated weapon system

SA-6 GAINFUL and possibly SA-11 GADFLY SAM, LONG TRACK, THIN SKIN target acquisition radars


  • Essentially same chassis as SA-6
  • 12ft long search reflector with 7 ft diameter fire control parabolic dish on top
  • Radars mounted on heavy turntable
  • Reflector backs have hvy pressed metal appearance
  • Radars can rotate independently of one another
  • Assembly folds flat in transit
  • With radar up, reaction time from a dormant condition through the target acquisition, IFF interrogation and lock-on phases to missile launch is about three minutes. If the radar vehicle is already active then the time taken for the sequence is reduced to between 15 to 30 seconds. A battery is able to become mobile and relocate to an alternate firing position in 15 minutes from systems being shutdown.

    The LONG TRACK target acquisition radar is also associated with the SA-6 system. After target data has been acquired by the SA-^ regiment's LONG TRACK surveillance radar, target acquistion and fire control are taken over by the STRAIGHT FLUSH missile site radars.




    Target acquisition


    150 km+, 30,000+ alt.


    E band (UHF)

    Associated weapon system

    SA-4 GANEF, SA-6 GAINFUL, SA-8 GECKO, PAT HAND fire control radar



  • Highly modified AT-T chassis

  • Large eliptical parabolic antenna

  • Operators' cab at front
  • The TELAR vehicle is of all-welded construction with the crew compartment at the front, missiles on the turntable immediately behind the crew compartment and the engine at the rear. The transmission is at the rear of the hull. The torsion bar suspension system consists of six rubber tired road wheels with the drive sprocket at the rear and the idler at the front. There are no track return rollers. The vehicle has an air filtration and over pressure NBC system and infra-red night vision equipment fitted as standard but the vehicle has no amphibious capability. Three SA-6 Gainful missiles are carried on a turntable which can be traversed through a full 360º with the missiles elevated on their launchers to a maximum of 85º. When traveling the turntable is normally traversed to the rear and the missiles are horizontal to reduce the overall height of the vehicle.

    Besides being vulnerable to suppresive fires and ECM, the system is slaved to the long-range LONG TRACK radar. Without it the SA-6 is "blind" at high altitudes.


    System designation Kub (domestic version) or Kvadrat (export version)
    Type Mobile tactical air defense complex
    Mission Protection of troops and objects of thereof from low-flying airplanes and helicopters of adversary under conditions of jamming and fire counteraction
    (The system was reportedly designed to defend advancing Soviet tank divisions in case of the war)
    System Developer V.V.Tikhomirov Science and Research Institute of Instrument-Engineering (NIIP)
    Chief Designer of the System: Yevgeniy Pigin
    Missile Developer State Machine-building Design Bureau «Vympel» (Moscow)
    Serial Production Facility Ul'yanovsk Mechanical Plant (for launchers and reconnaissance facility)
    Development started late 1950s
    Testing started 1965 (Army)
    Serial Production started 1968 [1] or 1967 [3]
    Production ceased1983 [3] or 1985 [1]
    System Composition One Self-Propelled Reconnaissance and Targeting Facility and 4 Self-propelled SAM Launchers, each carrying three missiles (all on tracked chassis). Initial version of the system carried 3M9 missiles, Kub-M3 features 3M9M3 missiles
    Probability of kill by one missile (within the lethality envelope) To increase Pk target can be engaged by several missiles, fired from either single or several Launchers
    for «non manuevering aerodynamic target» 0.8-0.9 [1], 0.7-0.8 [2] 0.8-0.95 [3]
    for manuevering high-speed target 0.5-0.7 [2]
    for cruise missile 0.3-0.4 [1] 0.1-0.3 [2]
    Missile Guidancesemi-active radar homing
    (on recently upgraded complexes TV/optical seeker introduced)
    For protection aganst anti-radar missiles seeker of SAM can lock on target mid-air, after launch
    Length: 5.8 m 
    Diameter: 0.335 m
    Wing span: 1.245 m
    Max speed: Mach 2.8
    Launch weight: 599 kg
    Max effective range: 24,000 m
    24-28 kilometers [1-3] (for M3 and M4 modifications)
    Min effective range: 3,700 m
    3-3.5 kilometers (for M3 and M4 modifications)
    Max effective altitude: 12,000 m 14 kilometers (for M3 and M4 modifications)
    Min effective altitude: (radar mode) 100 m 
    (optical mode) 50 m
    25 meters (for M3 and M4 modifications)
    Propulsion: integral rocket motor/ramjet booster and sustainer motor assembly
    Warhead: 59 kg HE fragmentation with contact and proximity fuzes
    Reload time (SPU): 10 min
    Time of Deployment for Combat5 minutes
    Reaction Time 20 [1] or 22 [3] seconds between target detection and missile firing
    Operational Temperatures-50 C .. + 50 C
    Performance Upgrade Activity «In the interests of foreign customers» NIIP currently upgrades the system to increase efficiency of tracking targets at low altitudes and improve jam-resistance of illumination channel. Work is also underway to increase combat performance can be enhanced by inclusion of a newer 9A310M1 Self-propelling Launcher from Buk-M1 (SA-17) system
    ExportsWas delivered to 22 [1] or 25 [3] countries, including Syria and Yugoslavia. Extensively used in the 1973 Israeli-Arab war (64 airplanes were shot down by 95 fired missiles)



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    Compiled by Maxim Tarasenko
    Maintained by Webmaster

    Updated Tuesday, April 20, 1999 10:16:18 AM