S-5 rocket

The S-5 (first designated ARS-57) is a rocket weapon developed by the Soviet Air Force and used by military aircraft against ground area targets. It is in service with the Russian Air Force and various export customers.

It is produced in a variety of subtypes with different warheads, including HEAT anti-armour (S-5K), high-explosive fragmentation (S-5M/MO), smoke, and incendiary rounds. Each rocket is about 1.4 meters (4 ft 6 in) long and weighs about 5 kg (11 lb), depending on warhead and fuze. Range is 3 to 4 kilometres (1.9 to 2.6 miles).

Country Name Origin Year
Russia (USSR) 1955
Country Name Operational Year Retirement Year
Afghanistan View
Israel View
Libya View
Russia (USSR) View
Syria View

Developed in early 1950s, originally as part of the air-to-air AS-5 weapon system for the MiG-19. The rockets were tested in a series of configurations on MiG-15bis and MiG-17 jets, with the final tests complete on a MiG-17PF in January 1955. The tests revealed that the rockets did not perform as expected against aerial targets. The rocket ARS-57 was accepted into service in April 1955, with a military designation S-5.


S-5 rockets were used extensively by Sukhoi Su-25 and Mil Mi-24 aircraft in Afghanistan in the 1980s, where their effectiveness was considered poor. Pilots described the rockets fanning out after launch "like a tulip", and that the warhead was only good for "tickling the dookhi's (mujahedeen) heels". The Russian forces have shifted to higher-calibre weapons like the S-8 rocket instead.


On Sunday, 6 January 2009, The Israel Defense Forces identified a rocket fired at Israel earlier in the day by militants in the Gaza Strip as a Russian-made S5K, the type used in battle in Iran and Afghanistan.

According to the IDF, the rocket fired at Kibbutz Alumim in the Negev marked the first time militants in Gaza have used this type of weapon. Although this type is intended to be launched aerially, said the IDF, Gaza militants on Sunday chose to launch their rocket from on-the-ground. Unlike a Qassam rocket, the S5K contains more explosives, but is less precise.


S-5, along with S-8 and S-13 rockets, have been deployed from the backs of pick-up trucks (generally, technicals) during the 2011 Libyan civil war, serving as a makeshift MLRS. The rebels have also developed a man-portable launcher for the S-5, turning the rocket into a makeshift RPG round.


The S-5 has seen use by the Syrian Air Force against opposition forces in the Syrian civil war.

Typical launchers specifications


  • rockets: 8
  • length × diameter: 1,447 × 220 mm
  • weight, empty: 33 kg
  • weight, loaded: 64 kg
  • aircraft: MiG-19


  • rockets: 16
  • length × diameter: 1,880 × 335 mm
  • weight, empty: 57 kg
  • weight, loaded: 138 kg
  • aircraft: MiG-21, Su-7, Mi-8 (various variants of UB-16-57)


  • rockets: 32
  • length × diameter: 2,080 × 481 mm
  • weight, empty: 103 kg
  • weight, loaded: 264 kg
  • aircraft: MiG-21, MiG-23, MiG-27, Su-7, Su-17/20/22, Su-25, Mi-17, Mi-24

End notes