Upgraded 9M333 missiles supplied for Strela-10 Russian antiaircraft launcher

The Russian armed forces received the first upgraded guided 9M333 missiles for Strela-10 (Arrow) antiaircraft systems. Defense industry representatives and military experts believe the new missile will make the air defense more effective and provide several advantages to Strela-10 against other antiaircraft weapons.
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Strela-10-M3-K air defense missile system (Picture source: Vitaly Kuzmin)

TASS reported in November 2021 that the Kalashnikov Group had produced and supplied a batch of 9M333 missiles in the framework of the arms procurement order. The group said the contract for the missiles was signed by Deputy Defense Minister Alexey Krivoruchko and company CEO Vladimir Lepin on August 25, 2021 at the Army forum.

The upgrade of the antiaircraft missile of Strela-10 was announced in 2018. The Defense Ministry ordered to extend the life cycle of guided 9M37M and 9M333 missiles. The Kalashnikov Group said in 2020 it had completed in situ tests of 9M333 at Donguz range in the Orenburg region and launched batch production.

Rostec Industrial Director for armaments Bekhan Ozdoev told TASS the new missile is distinguished by high effectiveness. “9M333 guided antiaircraft missiles promote the fight against low-flying airplanes and helicopters due to bigger guidance accuracy. The missile is engaged by the fire-and-forget principle and the launcher can change the position right after firing”, he said. Expert of the Independent Military Review Vladimir Karnozov believes the fire-and-forget principle of upgraded 9M333 option justifies the resumption of the missile production. The new missile is fit for Strela-10 with MN index.

The Strela missile system enjoys several advantages against other air defense weapons, including heavy ones. “It has a high cross-country and floating capacity and is protected against bullets and fragmentation, Karnozov said.

Tor and Buk antiaircraft launchers weigh over 30 tons and have a big size. “Therefore, they are vulnerable to all types of weapons. They are technically perfect but cost a lot. Their radar is vulnerable to hostile antiradar missiles. The radar defense of Strela is provided by passive target detection, which makes it invisible for hostile antiradar missiles,” Karnozov said.

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