S-75 Dvina

The S-75 Dvina (Russian: С-75; NATO reporting name SA-2 Guideline) is a Soviet-designed, high-altitude air defense system, built around a surface-to-air missile with command guidance. Since its first deployment in 1957 it has become the most widely deployed air defense system in history. It scored the first destruction of an enemy aircraft by a surface-to-air missile, shooting down a Taiwanese Martin RB-57D Canberra over China, on October 7, 1959, hitting it with three V-750 (1D) missiles at an altitude of 20 km (65,600 ft). The success was attributed to Chinese fighters at the time in order to keep the S-75 program secret.

This system first gained international fame when an S-75 battery, using the newer, longer-range and higher-altitude V-750VN (13D) missile shot down the U-2 of Francis Gary Powers overflying the Soviet Union on May 1, 1960. The system was also deployed in Cuba during the Cuban Missile Crisis, where on October 27, 1962, it shot down a U-2 overflying Cuba flown by Rudolf Anderson, almost precipitating nuclear war. North Vietnamese forces used the S-75 extensively during the Vietnam War to defend Hanoi and Haiphong. It has also been locally produced in the People's Republic of China using the names HQ-1 and HQ-2.

Country Name Origin Year
Russia (USSR) 1957
Country Name Operational Year Retirement Year
Afghanistan View
Albania View
Algeria View
Armenia View
Bulgaria View
China View
Cuba View
Czechoslovakia View
Egypt View
Georgia View
Germany View
Hungary View
India View
Indonesia View
Iran (Persia) View
Iraq View
Kyrgyzstan View
Libya View
Moldova View
Mongolia View
North Korea View
Pakistan View
Poland View
Romania View
Russia (USSR) 1957 View
Somalia View
Sudan View
Syria View
Tajikistan View
Vietnam View
Yemen View
Yugoslavia (Serbia) View
Zimbabwe (Rhodesia) View
Azerbaijan View
Myanmar View

In the early 1950s, the United States Air Force rapidly accelerated its development of long-range jet bombers carrying nuclear weapons. The USAF program led to the deployment of Boeing B-47 Stratojet supported by aerial refueling aircraft to extend its range deep into the Soviet Union. The USAF quickly followed the B-47 with the development of the Boeing B-52 Stratofortress, which had greater range and payload than the B-47. The range, speed, and payload of these U.S. bombers posed a significant threat to the Soviet Union in the event of a war between the two countries.

Consequently, the Soviets initiated the development of improved air defense systems. Although the Soviet Air Defence Forces had large numbers of anti-aircraft artillery (AAA), including radar-directed batteries, the limitations of guns versus high-altitude jet bombers were obvious. Therefore, the Soviet Air Defense Forces began the development of missile systems to replace the World War II-vintage gun defenses.

In 1953, KB-2 began the development of what became the S-75 under the direction of Pyotr Grushin. This program focused on producing a missile which could bring down a large, non-maneuvering, high-altitude aircraft. As such it did not need to be highly maneuverable, merely fast and able to resist aircraft counter-measures. For such a pioneering system, development proceeded rapidly, and testing began a few years later. In 1957, the wider public first became aware of the S-75 when the missile was shown at that year's May Day parade in Moscow.

Wide-scale deployment started in 1957, with various upgrades following over the next few years. The S-75 was never meant to replace the S-25 Berkut surface-to-air missile sites around Moscow, but it did replace high-altitude anti-aircraft guns, such as the 130 mm KS-30 and 100 mm KS-19. Between mid-1958 and 1964, U.S. intelligence assets located more than 600 S-75 sites in the USSR. These sites tended to cluster around population centers, industrial complexes, and government control centers. A ring of sites was also located around likely bomber routes into the Soviet heartland. By the mid-1960s, the Soviet Union had ended the deployment of the S-75 with perhaps 1,000 operational sites.

In addition to the Soviet Union, several S-75 batteries were deployed during the 1960s in East Germany to protect Soviet forces stationed in that country. Later the system was sold to most Warsaw Pact countries and was provided to China, North Korea, and eventually, North Vietnam.

Type Strategic SAM system
Place of origin Soviet Union
Service history
In service 1957–present
Used by See list of present and former operators
Wars Vietnam War, Six-Day War, Indo-Pakistani War of 1965, Indo-Pakistani War of 1971, Yom Kippur War, Cold War, Iran-Iraq War, Gulf War, War in Abkhazia (1992–1993)
Production history
Designer Raspletin KB-1 (head developer),
Grushin MKB Fakel (missile developer),
Lavochkin OKB
Designed 1953–1957
Produced 1957
Number built Approx 4600 launchers produced
Variants S-75 Dvina, S-75M-2 Volkhov-M, S-75 Desna, S-75M Volkhov, S-75M Volga
Specifications (V-750)
Weight 2,300 kg (5,100 lb)
Length 10,600 mm (420 in)
Diameter 700 mm (28 in)
Warhead Frag-HE
Warhead weight 200 kg (440 lb)
Propellant Solid-fuel booster and a storable liquid-fuel upper stage
45 km (28 mi)
Flight altitude 25,000 m (82,000 ft)
Boost time 5 s boost, then 20 s sustain
Speed Mach 3.5
Radio control command guidance
Accuracy 65 m
Single rail, ground mounted (not mobile)

End notes