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Thursday, May 19, 2022

Tochka-U: A Soviet yet reliable missile system

The ballistic missile system is known as “Tochka” (GRAU index 9K79, according to the INF Treaty – OTR-21 – NATO designation SS-21 Scarab,) was developed by the Kolomna Mechanical Engineering Design Bureau, under the direction of Sergey Pavlovich Nepobedimy, for the Soviet Union in the late 1980s.

Tochka-U: A Soviet yet reliable missile system
PHOTO By Владислав Фальшивомонетчик – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0

From 1970 through 1975, state tests of the missile system 9K79 “Tochka” were conducted in the Soviet Union. Despite the fact that mass production of missiles began in 1973, the Soviet Army only officially accepted the system in 1975.

The most significant development of the missile at that time was the “Tochka-R,” which was equipped with a passive radar homing head that entered service in 1983 paving the way for the “Tochka-U” that recently show again combat action.

More specifically, from 1986 to 1988, the RK 9K79-1 “Tochka-U” (NATO designation – Scarab B) was subjected to military tests with an enhanced firing range of up to 120 kilometers and officially entered military status in 1989, at a time when the Soviet Union was collapsing.

Tochka-U: A Soviet yet reliable missile system
PHOTO By Vitaly V. Kuzmin – http://vitalykuzmin.net/?q=node/638, CC BY-SA 4.0

Tochka missiles were manufactured at the Votkinsk Machine-Building Plant, special chassis for launchers BAZ-5921 and transport-loading machines BAZ-5922 were manufactured at the Bryansk Automobile Plant where the final assembly of the launchers was completed.

It was necessary to involve many military factories across the Soviet Union to help in the production cycle of the missile complex’s various components.

What is the maximum range and speed of the Tochka-U missile:

Tochka U has a range of approximately 75 miles or 120 kilometers at a Mach 5,3 maximum speed of the missile.

The first time that Tochka missile systems were used in battle:

The first time that Tochka missile systems were used in battle was in 1994, during a conflict between the armies of the southern and northern regions of Yemen.

In addition to their deployment in the counter-terrorist campaign in the North Caucasus, the complexes were also utilized in the military war in South Ossetia.

Tochka-U: A Soviet yet reliable missile system
Syrian Tochka PHOTO: ALMASDAR

Use of Tochka-U systems in Syria:

Since 2013, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) has been active using the system multiple times throughout the country.

Use of Tochka-U missiles in Nagorno-Karabakh (Artsakh) conflict:

According to official accounts from the Azerbaijani Ministry of Defense, the Tochka-U was utilized by the Armenian side during the armed conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh (2020).

Tochka-U: A Soviet yet reliable missile system

Use of Tochka-U missile systems in Ukraine:

While fighting in the eastern portion of the country from 2014 to 2015, Tochka-U missiles were particularly effective during the battles for Saur-Mohyla, according to the Ukrainian military.

Tactical missile weapons were actively used in the battles for Saur-Mogila according to the Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Viktor Muzhenko.

Viktor Muzhenko went on at that time and said:

“In July and August 2014, due to the inaccessibility of enemy facilities to be destroyed by other means of firepower during the battles for Saur-Mogila, the  19th rocket brigade performed tasks for general, and sometimes direct, fire support for the units of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.”

During the course of the missions, up to 20 group and single missile strikes were carried out, using anywhere from one to four Tochka launchers.

The most recent unconfirmed for now, use of Tochka-U missiles against Ukrainian civilians was reported on April 8, 2022, at the train station in Kramatorsk, Ukraine, according to media reports was launched by Russian Forces.

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