Anti-Aircraft Missile Troops (Zenitno-Raketnye Voiska)
SA-5 Griffon V-400 Dal
The Anti-Aircraft Missile Troops (Zenitno-Raketnye Voiska - ZRV literally Zenith Rocket Troops), were the missile branch of the PVO and provided the "defensive" air defense capability. The Troops of National Air Defense (PVO) contained brigades and regiments of either surface-to-air missiles (SAMs) or antiaircraft (AA) guns. Maintaining single-system units allowed the PVO to manage limited assets, tailoring support to a particular region or air defense zone.
The Surface-to-air Missile (SAM) Forces of the PVO consist, organisationally, of rocket brigades (each with 10 to 12 launch battalions), regiments (3 to 5 launch battalions) and independent launch battalions. Each battalion has 6 to 8 launchers, according to the type of rocket with which it is equipped. Each battalion has between 80 and 120 men. First, all battalions were equipped with S 75 rockets. Then, to replace these, two rockets, the S 125 (low-altitude and short-range) and the S 200 (high-altitude and long-range), were developed. The S 200 can be fitted with a nuclear warhead to destroy enemy rockets or aircraft.
A study of the SAM deployments revealed that by the mid-1970s the Soviets emphasized protection of military installations, military industry, and basic military and civilian administrative control centers, rather than population as such. Some sizable population centers had been left without local SAM defenses.
In 1989 the Antiaircraft Rocket Troops manned 12,000 strategic surface-to-air missile launchers at 1,400 sites inside the Soviet Union. These forces were organized into brigades of launch battalions. Soviet SA-3 and SA-5 antiaircraft missiles, first produced in the 1960s, together with older SA-1 and SA-2 missiles, constituted over 90 percent of the Soviet surface-to-air missile inventory. In the late 1980s, the new SA-10 was entering service to replace SA-1 and SA-2 missiles.
By the mid-1990s the missile forces were equipped with approximately 2,500 launchers deployed in about 250 different sites around the country. Air defense forces have particular responsibility for defending administrative and industrial centers; for instance, they surround Moscow with about 100 missile launchers. The missile troops were equipped with about 150 SA-2 Guideline, 100 SA-3 Goa, 500 SA-5 Gammon, and 1,750 SA-10 Grumble missile launchers. A program to replace all of the older systems with the SA-10, well under way by 1996, has been considered by experts to be one of the most successful reequipment programs of the post-Soviet armed forces.
In the 1987 edition of Soviet Military Power it was claimed that the SA-X-12b' Giant variant was at the flight testing stage and was to be used by the ZRV (Zenitnye Raketnye Vojska: Zenith Rocket Troops) on behalf of the PRO (antr-rocket defence component of the VPVO (Vojska Protivovozdushno Olborony: Troops of Air Defence) The weapon is similar in appearance to the SA-12a but is longer at 10.5 m. has a greater diameter at 1.0 m and a 100km maximum range. The SPU carries two ready-to-fire SA-12b missiles and is heavier at 22,4OOkg when fully loaded. The missile uses active-radar homing.
The commander of an PVO Division is responsible for the protection of a single, highly important installation, for instance, of a large power-supply center. He was also required to prevent incursions by enemy aircraft over his sector. The division therefore deploys one SAM brigade to cover the main installation, and moves two or three SAM regiments into the-areas most likely to be threatened, ahead of the brigades, and a number of independent SAM battalions into areas which are in less danger. In addition, the divisional commander has one air regiment which may be used to make contact with the enemy at a considerable distance, for operations at boundaries or junctions not covered by SAM fire, or in the area in which the enemy delivers his main thrust. The operations of the SAM sub-units and of the interceptor aircraft were supported by radar battalions and companies which are subordinated both to the divisional commander himself and to the commanding officers of the division's SAM units.
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