Tunguska Air Defenсe Missile/Gun Complex

For Russian Army air defense, a handful of ageing ZSU-23-4 self-propelled vehicles are still in service, but mainly because their four rapid-fire 23mm cannon are useful in a direct-fire role, as proven in Chechnya. The real backbones of the Army’s point air defense are the Strela-10 (SA-13) short-range missile launcher, and the Tunguska (SA-19) gun/missile system and its successor, the Pantsir-S1 (SA-22). Both of the latter mount two 30mm autocannon and missiles: 6x 57E6 for the former and 12x for the latter.

The 2S6 entered limited service in 1982. The layout is similar to the ZSU-23-4, with a large turret mounted in the centre of the hull and the engine at the rear. The 2S6 is armed with a pair of 2A38 30mm cannons (one on each side of the turret), and four SA-19 Grison missiles (two on each side of the turret). A target acquisition radar is fitted at the rear of the turret, and a tracking radar at the front. The guns are stabilised in both planes to allow firing on the move, but the missiles can only be fired when stationary. The vehicle is armoured to a level sufficient to provide protection from small arms and shell splinters. In 1986, the main production system, the 2S6M, entered service. This increases the missile load from four to eight missiles (four on each side of the turret). The fire-control programmes are improved, and improved guns (2A38M) and missiles (Soviet designation 9M311M) are fitted.

The late 1960s saw a sharply increased interest in the development of highly mobile battlefield short-range air defenses capable of operating as part of forward forces that could be attacked by enemy anti-tank helicopters and low-flying planes, as well as capable of repelling enemy ground attacks if necessary.

The design specifications for a new generation of short-range air defenses were developed with due regard to the first years’ field experience with the SHILKA self- propelled antiaircraft gun (SPAAG). On 8 June 1970, the USSR Council of Ministers decided to conduct preliminary studies to assess the feasibility of developing a new SPAAG equipped with 30mm artillery armament. The KBP Instrument Design Bureau was assigned prime contractor.

In 1973, the CPSU Central Committee and USSR Council of Ministers passed a resolution to develop detailed design and a prototype of the TUNGUSKA SPAAG. However, assessments made at KBP by this time showed that the maximum efficiency of a new battlefield short-range air defense system could only be achieved with combined artillery and missile armaments. In this case, missiles had to be used to fire at air targets throughout the entire engagement envelope, while artillery armament had to be employed to engage targets like aircraft flying at extremely low altitudes and helicopters suddenly emerging from behind cover in the near zone. In addition, it was appropriate to use artillery armament to destroy cheap and massive targets like unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) and ground targets, due to low cost of ammunition.

In 1975 this concept was approved and the performance specifications for the Tunguska equipped with both artillery and missile armaments together with an optical sighting and radio remote control system for the surface-to-air missile (SAM) were finalized.

As a result, the key feature of the TUNGUSKA, compared to known AA systems, was that one combat vehicle mounted artillery and missile armaments, radar and optical detection, tracking and fire control instruments using common equipment to support artillery fire and missile guidance: target acquisition radar, target tracking radar, ground receiver / interrogator, optical sighting equipment, digital computing system, and laying drives.

The TUNGUSKA was to be armed with two 30mm autocannons with a liquid cooling system and an ammunition load and 8 launchers with launch tubes and 9M311 missiles in the transport- launch containers. The range of the guns was to be 3.5-4 km, the missiles up to 8 km. In fact, the gun / missile TUNGUSKA was to be the world’s first two-echelon self-propelled short-range air defense system.

KBP’s development efforts on the 9M311 missile yielded a one-stage SAM of an unrivalled bi-caliber configuration, with a separable booster and an unpowered sustainer stage. Such a layout ensured extremely high performance of the missile. Thus, the absence of a motor in the sustainer stage of the missile eliminated smoke blocking the target line-of-sight, ensuring reliable and accurate guidance of the missile, reduced its weight and dimensions, simplified the layout of onboard equipment and warhead. This was also aided by the use of passive aerodynamic damping of the missile airframe during flight, provided by a control loop correction through sending commands to the missile from the SAM system’s computer system.

In general, the use of the bi-caliber layout helped nearly halve the weight of the missile compared to a single-stage SAM and achieve higher ballistic characteristics.

Along with KBP, the TUNGUSKA program involved also the Ulyanovsk Mechanical Plant, Leningrad Optical and Mechanical Association (LOMO), MIET OKB Design Bureau, Kovrov-based Signal VNII Research Institute, Kirov-based Mayak Engineering Plant, Izyum Instrument Plant, Minsk Tractor Plant, etc.

The official tests of the SAM system began in September 1980. On 8 September 1982, the 2K22 TUNGUSKA entered service.

In the second half of 1990, an upgraded version, the TUNGUSKA-M (2K22M), underwent tests. The basic improvements included the introduction of new radio sets and a receiver for communications with the PANTSYR (PU-12M) battery command post and the PPRU-1M (PPRU-1) command post, as well as the replacement of a gas turbine engine (part of the SAM system’s power unit) with a new one with a twice longer service life (600 hours).

In the process of further upgrade efforts on the TUNGUSKA its combat vehicle received equipment for automated acquisition and processing of external targeting data coming from the PPRU (9S80) mobile control and reconnaissance post. This allowed automatic allocation of targets among the combat vehicles and significantly improved the effectiveness of a SPAAGM battery while repelling a massive air raid. Upgrading the TUNGUSKA’s digital computing system through the use of a new computer has expanded its capabilities to handle combat and monitoring tasks and increased the accuracy of their solving. In addition, a relief circuit was introduced that greatly facilitated the gunner’s work in optical tracking of a moving aerial target.

The following components were added to the combat vehicle’s equipment set: equipment for automated acquisition and processing of external targeting data coming from the battery command post, infrared missile locator – missile coordinate generation equipment, a new computer having higher speed and larger memory, and an improved rolling angle measurement system.

Missile improvement was another focus of upgrade effort. The upgraded missile received the designation 9M311-1M. Its sustainer stage was equipped with a continuous / pulsed light source (a floodlamp). The missile equipment was also modified – its immunity in engaging targets that used optical jamming was increased, and the laser proximity sensor was replaced by a radar sensor with a circular antenna pattern.

All the above has increased the engagement range of the SAM system up to 10 km, improved immunity of an optical link in the missile control system and provided assured engagement of small targets like cruise missiles.

High combat and operational properties of the TUNGUSKA have been repeatedly confirmed during exercises and combat firing practice. The SAM system was repeatedly shown at international military equipment exhibitions. The TUNGUSKA SPAAGM and its variants are in service with a number of states.


TUNGUSKA-M1 is designed to provide air defense both for the land forces subunits in all types of their combat actions and defense for the appropriate facilities. TUNGUSKA-M1 is a modern short- range mobile air defense missile/gun complex that can engage aircraft, helicopters (including the hovering and surprise) and the low-flying targets while on the move, at short halts and from the stationary positions as well as destroy the ground and surface targets. TUNGUSKA-M1 incorporates:

– combat assets;

– maintenance equipment;

– training equipment. TUNGUSKA-M1 standard set includes:

– up to six air defense self-propellled gun mounts 2S6M1;

– surface-to-air missiles (SAM) 9M311- 1M in the container-launchers;

– ZUOF8 30-mm rounds with an explosive incendiary projectile and ZUOR6 30- mm rounds with an explosive tracer projectile. Maintenance equipment includes:

– ADMGC maintenance and repair equipment and automated missile integrated test facilities;

– facilities of temporary storage and transportation of missiles and gun rounds and loading of the air defense self-propelled gun mounts;

– group and repair SPTA sets for all the ADMGC assets. TUNGUSKA-M and TUNGUSKA-M1 may be upgraded to extend the life cycle of the combat vehicles. Upgrade of TUNGUSKA-M1 2S6M1 combat vehicle includes:

– introduction of a full-time TV thermal imaging system with the target automatic tracker based on the targeting & optical equipment;

– upgrade of the target acquisition radar;

For upgrading TUNGUSKA-M combat vehicle to a level of TUNGUSKA-M1:

  1. a) the automated external target designation equipment is to be installed;
  2. b) the turret, cabinets and units of radar, tracked chassis and the operational documentation are to be updated;
  3. c) the central computer system, targeting & optical equipment, radio command coder unit, AA automatic guns, motion angle measuring system and cables are to be replaced;
  4. d) a 15 % re-configuration is to be used for changing the composition of the single and group SPTA sets; e) maintenance and repair facilities are to be modified.

After upgrade, TUNGUSKA-M1 takes the new combat properties:

– day-and-night combat operation of the missile/gun armament;

– high level of automation of the combat operation and higher firing capacity; for automating the combat control, the complex assets can be integrated with the unified battery command post of the RANZHYR-MK type.

On the whole, the level of combat effectiveness of TUNGUSKA-M1 in the jamming environment is 1.3 to 1.5 times greater than of TUNGUSKA-M.

Like its predecessors, the 9K22 TUNGUSKA provides a mobile and flexible air defense for armor and motorized regiments. According to Russian practice, the Tunguska has its own battery within the regimental air defense battalion. A 9K22 battery is composed of a headquarters section, transportation section, and three air defense platoons. Each platoon has two 9K22s, for a total of six per battery.

As the regiment’s primary air defense weapon, the Tunguska performs a variety of missions. These include but are not limited to defending armored columns, setting air defense ambushes, and establishing a roving air defense patrol. When defending armored columns on a tactical march, the 9K22s are divided into pairs and placed at least 1,000-2,000m from one another to optimize their interlocking fields of fire. In the air defense ambush, two 9K22s take up static positions and only engage targets that come within a designated aerial sector. The Tunguska SPAAGs relocate after engaging a target or upon discovery by enemy forces. In the roving defense, instead of lying in wait for the enemy’s aircraft, the Tunguska teams move to whatever area is most likely to fall under the enemy’s air attack.

Unlike the ZSU 57-2 and ZSU 23-4, the 9K22 Tunguska has not seen a wide export market. Russian Ground Forces remain the primary operator of the vehicle, with more than 250 currently in service. After the breakup of the Soviet Union, the various successor states (including Ukraine and Belarus) retained the existing fleets of 9K22s that remained within their borders. The Indian Army, a long-standing customer for Soviet exports, continues to operate the 9K22 alongside the T-72, T-90, and BMP. During the past decade, the Tunguska has also been exported to Syria and Morocco.



Original system, with 9M311, 9M311K (3M87) or 9M311-1 missiles with a range of 8 km. Some of these early versions of the “Tunguska” system were known as “Treugol’nik”. This system is mounted on the 2S6 integrated air defence vehicle.

2K22M (1990)

Main production system, with 9M311M (3M88) missiles. This integrated air defence vehicle 2S6M is based on the GM-352M chassis. 2F77M transporter-loader. 2F55-1, 1R10-1 and 2V110-1 repair and maintenance vehicles.

2K22M1 (2003)

Improved version with the 2S6M1 combat vehicle on a GM-5975 chassis, using the 9M311-M1 missile (range: 10 km) and with an improved fire control system. Passed state trials and entered service with the Russian armed forces on 31 July 2003.

2K22M with 57E6

Complete upgrade of system with new 57E6 missile and new radar system, with detection range of 38 km and a tracking range of 30 km. Missile range is increased to 18 km.

Specifications: 2S6M Tunguska

Crew: 4

Combat weight: 34 tonnes

Length: 7.93m

Width: 3.24m

Height: 4.01m (3.36m with radar stowed)

Maximum road speed: 65km/h

Maximum road range: 500km

Vertical obstacle: 1m

Trench: 2m


8x SA-19 Grison missiles (2S6: 4x SA-19 Grison missiles)

2x 30mm 2A38M cannon (1,904 rounds) (2S6: 2x 30mm 2A38 cannon)



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