BUK M1-2: The History & Development of the BUK 9K37 air defense system

The work on the 9K37M1-2 Buk M1-2 complex began in December 1992, after an instruction from the President of the Russian Federation.

It was the incorporation of the 9M317 SAM into the previously existing means of defense of the 9K37M1 Buk-M1 air defense system that was the primary goal of the upgrade. It took almost 3 years to complete the modernization.

The Russian Army’s 9K37M1-2 Buk M1-2 air defense system, which was first deployed in 1998, has since been upgraded several times resulting in the BUK M3 version which is the latest.

BUK M1-2: The History & Development of the BUK 9K37 air defense system
By Vitaly V. Kuzmin – http://vitalykuzmin.net/?q=node/456, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=26284540

The BUK M1-2 weapon system is a self-propelled air defense system with a medium range for surface-to-air engagement. It is meant to deal with missiles, smart bombs, airstrips, attack helicopters, and unmanned aerial vehicles.

The BUK M1-2 is based on the 2k12 Air defense system which development began on July 18, 1958, at the request of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.

In order to achieve the requirements set by the Russian Armed Forces, the system had to be able to engage aerial targets flying at speeds ranging from 820 to 1,200 km at altitudes ranging from 330 to 23,000 ft at ranges of up to 20 kilometers.

BUK M1-2: The History & Development of the BUK 9K37 air defense system
PHOTO By George Chernilevsky – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7064898

A new 9K37, or Buk, air defense system that was intended to replace the 2K12 Kub (NATO codename SA-6 “Gainful”), began officially construction on January 13, 1972, according to a Soviet government decision.

The new system was scheduled to be completed by the end of the year.

The major developer of the complex was designated the Research Institute of Instrumentation, named after Viktor Tikhomirov, which was under the direction of Chief Designer Ardalion Rastov.

In 1975, it was intended to place the complex into service with the Armed Forces of the Soviet Union. However, in order to expedite the process, it was decided to divide the approval into service into two parts in order to save time.

It was planned to introduce a 9A38 self-propelled fire launcher with 9M38 missiles into each battery’s 2K12 Kub-M3 complex as part of the first stage of the development process. The 2K12M4 Kub-M4 air defense system was first deployed in 1978 in this configuration.

BUK M1-2: The History & Development of the BUK 9K37 air defense system
photo By Владислав Дем'яненко – https://armyinform.com.ua/2020/07/povitryani-syly-prydbayut-za-majzhe-11-miljoniv-gryven-trenazhery-dlya-zenitnyh-raketnyh-kompleksiv/, CC BY 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=92698751

The second stage included full acceptance of the entire air defense complex as a component of the 9S18 detection station, the 9S470 command post, the 9A310 self-propelled fire launcher, the 9A39 launcher, and the 9M38 surface-to-air missile.

Starting in November 1977, joint testing of the complex was conducted and it continued until March 1979, after which the BUK M1-2 complex modernization was accepted and was put into operation.

Recently, on an exercise between Cyprus & Israel called  ONISILOS – GEDEON 2/2021 Cypriot Buk M1-2 air defense systems were tested out against the Israeli Air Force and it’s not specified if the weapon system had its first interaction with the Israeli F-35s or it was used against only against F-15s.

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