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Ukrainian army captures Russian Buk-M1-2 air defense system

In a tweet from ArmaduraXXI dated September 1, 2023, the Ukrainian army captured a Russian Buk-M1-2 air defense system using the chassis of a T-72 tank. This development raises questions about the technical and operational capabilities of the Buk-M1-2 system. This article delves into the technical specifics of the Buk-M1-2.
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Captured Buk-M1-2 air defense system (Picture source: Twitter account of ArmaduraXXI )

The capture of anti-aircraft equipment is a critical point. Given the Ukrainian strikes on Russian airbases resulting in significant aircraft losses, and the upcoming delivery of F-16s to Ukraine, there is a subtle shift in the air. These two events could influence the dynamics of Russian aerial dominance in Ukraine. The loss of a Buk-M1-2 anti-aircraft system comes at an inopportune time for Russian forces, prompting a closer look at the Buk-M1-2 system.

The Buk-M1-2 is an upgraded version of its predecessor, the Buk-M1. It uses a new 9M317 missile and is equipped with target illumination and missile guidance radar. This radar allows the system to engage low-flying targets, including modern cruise missiles. The system comprises several components, including a command post, a target detection station, and self-propelled firing units. Each firing unit is equipped with a quadruple missile launcher, a digital computer system, a televised optical sight, and a laser rangefinder, among other equipment.

The Buk-M1 air defense system has been widely deployed by several countries, including Belarus, Finland, Russia, Syria, Ukraine, and Serbia. Normally, the Buk-M1 is equipped with four 9M38 or 9M38M1 missiles capable of reaching altitudes from 20 to 22,000 meters. In contrast, the 9M317 missiles of the Buk-M1-2 can reach an altitude of 25,000 meters. In terms of engagement range, the system can target up to a maximum distance of 35,000 meters for the Buk-M1 and 50,000 meters for the Buk-M1-2.

Each missile of the Buk-M1 weighs approximately 685 kg, while the weight of the 9M317 is 720 kg, which includes a 70 kg high-explosive fragmentation (HE) warhead. The missile's speed reaches 850 meters per second. This combination of weight and speed allows the missile to deliver considerable destructive power upon impact.

The system uses a Flat Box-B radar for target detection and tracking. This radar is capable of tracking multiple targets simultaneously, enhancing the system's ability to manage complex combat environments. The Buk-M1 is operated by a crew of three, indicating its automation and operational efficiency.

The vehicle carrying the Buk-M1 system has a length of 9.96 meters, a width of 0.31 meters, and a height of 3.8 meters. These dimensions reflect the need to accommodate both the missile launch system and the associated radar equipment.

The recovery of the Buk-M1-2 using the barge of a T-72 could indicate a new approach in managing air defense systems, which will likely become very valuable following the arrival of the F-16s. It could also reflect a desire to optimize resources.

Ukraine Captures Russian Anti Air Defense System Buk M1 2 925 002Russian Buk-M1-2 air defense system ( Picture source: Vitaly V.Kuzmin)


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