The Buk-2M SA-17

The Buk-2M (SA-17`Grizzly’) low/high altitude surface-to-air missile system.The export version of the Buk-2M is known as Ural (after the Russianriver) and has already completed initial trials. The Buk-2M has been built in two versions: tracked and semi-trailer-mounted. When compared to the tracked version, the trailer version has greater strategic mobility and is probably cheaper to manufacture, operate and maintain. It is therefore likely to have greater export potential.

All four key elements of Ural have been mounted on semi-trailerstowed by 6 x 6 tractor trucks up to a maximum speed of 70 km/h. Although it was shown in model form two years ago, the Buk-2M has yet to make a public appearance. The tracked chassis variant is known as the Mys (a Russian river). This is believed to have been accepted for service with the Russian Army. It may be in limited lowrate initial production.The key elements of the system are the command post, the target acquisition radar, the illumination and missile guidance radar, and the self-propelled firing unit with four missiles. In addition there is the self-propelled loader-launcher which carries eight missiles. The Buk-2M can engage a wide variety of targets from aircraft tomissiles flying at an altitude of between 10 and 24,000 m out amaximum range of 50 km in given conditions.The Russian Army had planned to use the system as a direct replacement for the Buk-1 (SA-11 `Gadfly’) which entered service inthe 1980s.

The anti-aircraft system known as SA-17 is among the most advanced surface-to-air missile systems available in the world today. This battery was the target of the alleged IDF strike in Syria.

With a combination of mobility, speed, and long range capabilities, the SA-17 surface-to-air system is a veritable threat for the Israel Air Force, especially if the missile system were to fall in the hands of a terrorist group like Hezbollah in Lebanon. Air force officers are calling it the “game changer” because, unlike Hezbollah’s arsenal of surface-to-air weapons, the SA-17 battery is capable of going mobile in as little as five minutes.

The system, called SA-GRIZZLY 17 in full, can hit targets up to 50 kilometers (31 miles) away and can intercept targets flying at altitudes between 10,000-24,000 meters (33,000-79,000 feet).

The weapon uses a radar system that can be mounted on the mobile battery and missile-launching units. Each unit can be loaded with four surface-to-air missiles. Every missile is an independent system unto itself, so if one is compromised, the other three remain operational.

The SA-17 battery’s potential for movement poses a particularly potent threat to the air force. That it can move quickly from location to location makes the battery difficult to identify, isolate and destroy.

The system has communications technology that allows for rapid response. Also, the ability to shoot longer distances and hit targets at higher altitudes would make it the most advanced of Hezbollah’s arsenal of surface-to-air systems. Despite the war that has ravaged Syria and weakened its government, the Syrian army has continued to purchase SA-17 systems from Russia, at least some of which are believed to be destined for Hezbollah.

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