Yom Kippur War
The 2K12 surprised the Israelis in the 1973 Yom Kippur War. They were used to having air superiority over the battlefield. The highly mobile 2K12 took a heavy toll on the slower A-4 Skyhawk and even the F-4 Phantom, forming a protective umbrella until they could be removed. The radar warning receivers on the Israeli aircraft did not alert the pilot to the fact that he was being illuminated by the radar. Once the RWRs were reprogrammed and tactics changed, the 2K12 was no longer such a grave threat, but still caused heavy losses to Israeli aircraft.
The superior low altitude performance of the weapon, and its new CW semi-active missile seeker resulted in a much higher success rate compared to the earlier SA-2 and SA-3 systems. While exact losses continue to be disputed, more than 40 A-4 Skyhawk Israeli aircraft are confirmed lost to SAM shots, and more than 62 F-4 Phantom Israeli aircraft are confirmed shot down by 2K12/SA-6, SA-2 SA-3 SAM systems. The 2K12 / SA-6 proved most effective of the three weapons.
1982 Lebanon war
The Syrians also deployed the SA-6 to Lebanon in 1981 after the Israelis shot down Syrian helicopters near Zahlé. The SAM batteries were placed in the Bekaa Valley near the Beirut-Damascus road. They remained close to the existing Syrian air defense system but could not be fully integrated into it. Early in the 1982 Lebanon war, the Israeli Air Force concentrated on the SAM threat in the Beqaa Valley, launching Operation Mole Cricket 19. The result was a complete success. Several SA-6 batteries, along with SA-2s and SA-3s, were destroyed in a single day. While Syria's own air defenses remained largely intact, its forces in Lebanon were left exposed to attacks by Israeli strike aircraft for the remainder of the war.
Angolan Civil War
Cuban Air Defense placed hundreds of SA-2, SA-3 and SA-6 missile sites in the border with Namibia with the purpose of downing Buccaneer and Canberra bombers, particularly since they could carry nuclear weapons. An 3M9M3 missile launched from a Cuban SA-6 hit a South African Impala Mk II light attack aircraft that was mistaken for a Mirage F1.
On 19 August 2003, a Polish Air Force Su-22M4K was accidentally shot down by friendly fire during an exercise by a Polish SA-6 battery. The aircraft was flying 21 km from the coast over the Baltic Sea near Ustka. The pilot, General Andrzej Andrzejewski, ejected and was rescued after two hours in the water. He subsequently died in a C-295M crash on 23 January 2008.
The system was deployed by Libya during the border dispute with Chad and proved a threat for French aircraft, however on January 7, 1987 these were successful in destroying an SA-6 radar site in the Faya Largeau area with SEPECAT Jaguars armed with Martel anti-radiation missiles.
In March, the Chadian rebels captured Ouadi Doum air base and captured practically the whole heavy equipment used for the defense of this airfield intact. Most of this equipment was transported to France and the USA in the following days, but some SA-6s remained in Chad.
With this catastrophe, the Libyan occupation of the northern Chad – and the annexation of the Aouzou Strip – was over: by 30 March, also the bases at Faya Largeau and Aouzou had to be abandoned. The LARAF now has got a completely different task: its Tu-22Bs were to attack the abandoned bases and destroy as much equipment left there as possible. First such strikes were flown in April, and they continued until 8 August 1987, when two Tu-22Bs which tried to strike Aouzou, were ambushed by a captured SA-6 battery used by the Chadian Army, and one of the bombers shot down.
Libyan air defense, including SA-6 batteries, was active during the 2011 military intervention in Libya. They were completely ineffective, not managing to shoot down any NATO or allied aircraft.
Several SA-6s, along with other SAM systems and military equipment, were supplied to Iraq before and during the Iran-Iraq War as part of large military packages from the Soviet Union. The batteries were active since the start of the war in September 1980, scoring kills against U.S-supplied Iranian F-4 Phantoms and Northrop F-5s.
Kub systems were active again during the 1991 war. On January 19, 1991 a USAF F-16 (serial 87-228) was shot down by an SA-6 during the massive (though ill-fated) Package Q Strike against a heavily defended Baghdad. It was combat loss number 10 in Operation Desert Storm. The pilot, Captain Harry 'Mike' Roberts, ejected safely but was taken prisoner and freed in March 1991. The aircraft was on a mission to attack the Air Defense Headquarters Building. It had flown 4 combat missions before being lost.
Two days before, a B-52G was damaged by either an SA-6 or an SA-3.
In any case, the SA-6 threat was largely controlled by Allied EW assets together with the older SA-2 and SA-3 missile systems. Most of the losses were due to IR guided SAMs.
Kubs continued to be used by the Iraqi military, along with other SAM systems, to challenge the Western imposed no-fly zones during the 1990s and early 2000s. They weren't able to shoot down any Coalition aircraft though several sites were destroyed as retaliation. For example, on December 30, 1998 an SA-6 site near Talil fired 6-8 missiles at aircraft enforcing the Southern Watch component of the NFZ. American F-16s responded by dropping six GBU-12 laser-guided bombs on the site and also launching two HARMs "as a preemptive measure" to warn Iraqi radar operators against carrying out more firings.
Bosnia and Kosovo
Army of Republika Srpska forces, using modified SA-6s were successful in shooting down Scott O'Grady's F-16 in 1995 and two to three Croatian AN-2 aircraft that were used as night bombers with improvised 100 kg bombs.
One Mi-17 was shot down by a Kub on May 28, 1995, killing the Bosnian Minister Irfan Ljubijankic, a few other politicians, and the helicopter's Ukrainian crew.
During the Kosovo War, in 1999, on the first night of the war (March 24./25.), a Yugoslav Air Force MiG-29 flown by Maj. Predrag Milutinovic was downed by a Kub battery in a friendly fire incident, while approaching Niš Airport after an unsuccessful engagement with NATO aircraft. The Yugoslav Air Defence had twenty-two SA-6 batteries. Using shoot and scoot tactics, the self-propelled ground system demonstrated a good surviability with only three radars lost in the face of nearly four-hundred AGM-88 shots, but the system proved to be very ineffective having fired 477 missiles without a single success, at the same time. As comparison the fixed SA-2 and SA-3 sites demonstrated a similar low rate success, but suffered losses to around 66 to 80 percent.