The Threat: SA – 6/2K12 Kub
In this article we shall examine one of the most deadly SAMs ever created the fast and agile the SA – 6 NATO reporting name “Gainful”.
A Brief History Of The SA – 6/2K12
The 2K12 “Kub” (Russian: 2К12 “Куб”; English: cube) (NATO reporting name: SA-6 “Gainful”) mobile surface-to-air missile system is a Soviet low to medium-level air defence system designed to protect ground forces from air attack. “2К12” is the GRAU designation of the system.
Development started in 1958 and first production systems were rolled out in 1968 and were formally introduced into the Soviet armed forces in 1970. The SA – 6 was upgraded a number of times through the “kub” series and later received massive technological upgrade to newer “Buk” series.
First lets look at the missile
The fairly large missiles have an effective range of 4–24 km (2.5–15 miles) and an effective altitude of 50–14,000 m (164–45,931 ft). The missile weighs 599 kg (1,321 lb) and the warhead weighs 56 kg (123 lb). Top missile speed is approx. Mach 2.8. The combined propulsion system 9D16K included solid fuel rocket motor which, when burned out, forms the combustion chamber for a ramjet in a pioneering design putting this missile far ahead of its contemporaries in terms of propulsion.
The missile was fitted with a semi-active radar seeker 1SB4, designed by MNII Agat, which was able to track the target by Doppler frequency since the start. Later upgrades (3M9M3 missile) could do this before the start. Chief Designer of the seeker head was Yu.N. Vekhov, since 1960 – I.G. Akopyan.
Now let’s look at guidance
The 2K12 system shares many components with the 2K11 Krug (SA-4) system. In many ways they are designed to complement each other; 2K11 is effective at long ranges and high altitudes, 2K12 at medium ranges and intermediate altitudes.
The system is able to acquire and begin tracking targets using the 1S91 ( NATO: “Straight Flush” radar) at 75 km (47 mi) and begin illumination and guidance at 28 km (17 mi). IFF is also performed using this radar. It can only guide one or two missiles to a single target at any time. The missile is initially command guided with terminal semi-active radar homing (SARH), with target illumination provided by the “Straight Flush” radar
How To Defeat SA – 6
The SA – 6 is the first SAM that we have examined that is truly a “high threat” system. This is because the SA – 6 is very resistant to countermeasures dispensed from the aircraft (chaff) and the missile is very fast and agile making the missile a terrifying threat, however not all is lost as the system can be defeated. The most reliable way of defeating an SA – 6 is for the system not to see you in the first place, and NOE ingress using terrain features to mask your aircraft from the SA – 6 is advisable, alternatively if the system launches on your aircraft you have a few options that may be used based on the situation you find yourself in. If the SAM has launched at you from near RMax simply exiting the threat bubble may be the best course of action alternatively performing a break turn away from the missile combined with liberal use of chaff and ECM is also effective. If the SA – 6 launches at you from close range you options are far more limited, one of them simply being cry and wait for death… (not the best technique). Instead a break turn away from the missile is advised, continue your maximum rate of turn around the missile’s path until it looses track (be advised this is a last ditch maneuver as you will over-g your stores).
How To Destroy an SA – 6 Site
A SA – 6 battery usually contains the following:
- 6X SA – 6 launchers with three missiles per launcher
- 1X Straight flush Search/Track radar
- 2X ACRV (these contain MANPADs)
- 2X KRAZ Trucks
To render the site useless it is recommended to destroy the SA – 6 launchers and the Straight flush as a minimum. Of course if possible everything should be destroyed (heavy breathing)