2K12 Kub/SA-6 Gainful

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A mid-range integral rocket-ramjet, Soviet-era Russian surface-to-air missile, widely deployed with Soviet forces and exported to 22 countries. The missile provided one of the great technological surprises in warfare in the October 1973 Arab-Israeli War.


Specifications: Nicknames: 2K12;3M9;3M9M / 9M9;Gainful;SA-6.

Status: Active.

Payload: 59 kg (130 lb).

Gross mass: 580 kg (1,270 lb).

Height: 5.80 m (19.00 ft).

Diameter: 0.34 m (1.10 ft).

Span: 1.24 m (4.06 ft).

Apogee: 14 km (8 mi).


Infamy during the War of 1973

As much as 30% of Israeli fighter formations were shot down by this missile on their first encounter - 30 aircraft in the first day of the war alone. The Israelis and their American backers were not aware of and had no electronic countermeasure for the Kub's continuous-wave illuminating radars. The only effective solution was to fly the aircraft directly at the approaching missile, and then descend under it at the last moment.

Background and design

The Kub 2K12 surface-to-air missile system (export name Kvadrat) had been accepted by the Soviet land forces for production in 1966. This had been developed by V V Tikhomirov at OKB-11 GKAT (later NIIP Priborostroeniya named for V V Tikhomirov). Development had begun under Tikhomirov in accordance with a decree of July 1958. He directed the work until 1962. From then his deputy Ya N Figorovskiy was responsible, with the project development being led by his first deputy, V K Grishin. The Ulyanovsk Mechanical Works began series production in 1967. By 1971 the missile had been exported to 22 countries.

The system consisted of two associated vehicles: the 1S91 SURN (self-propelled vehicle, developed by A A Rastov at OKB-15 GKAT) with the search and tracking radars) and the 2P25 self-propelled launcher, developed by A I Yaskin, at SKB-203 GKAT, later known as KB Compressor Machinery) which carried three beam-riding missiles. A battery consisted of one 1S91 and four 2P25 - a total of twelve missiles which could be brought to bear on a range of targets.

The 3M9 surface-to-air missile was developed by KB-82 Factory 134 GKAT (later GosMKB Vympel) under the direction of A l Lyapin. The all-moving wing aerodynamic scheme controlled flight by movement of the four deployable wings, with stability provided by four fixed fins aft. The semi-active, self-guiding homing head was developed by I G Akopyan at OKB-15.

Mobile launcher

Reaction time from track to launch 28 seconds. System can be active 5 minutes after arrival at site and deactivated in the same time in 'shoot and scoot' mode. One target can be tracked at a time. Three missiles per launcher.


P-12/1RL14 Spoon Rest early warning radar, A band, range 275 km. P-40 Long Track early warning radar, E band, range 175 km. P-15/1RL13 Flat Face target acquisition radar, C band, range 250 km. Score Board A target acquisition radar. 1S91 Straight Flush target tracking radar, G band, range 75 km. 1S91 Straight Flush high frequency radar, H band, range 25 km. Thin Skin B height finding radar.


Maximum range: 24 km (14 mi).

Boost Propulsion: Integral rocket/ramjet.

Maximum speed: 2,160 kph (1,340 mph).

Minimum range: 3.70 km (2.20 mi).

Initial Operational Capability: 1967.

Floor: 50 m (164 ft).

Surveillance Radar: Long Track/E.

Tracking Radar: Straight Flush C/G/H/I.

See also

S-25 Berkut/SA-1 Guild

S-75 Dvina/SA-2 Guideline

S-125 Neva/SA-3 Goa

2K11 Krug/SA-4 Ganef

S-200 Angara/SA-5 Gammon

V-400 Dal/SA-5 Griffon


A-35 Aldan

ABM-1 Galosh

Soviet/Russian Strategic Communication/Warfare Units


Encyclopedia Astronautica, Wikipedia

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