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9K34 Strela-3
SA-14 missile and launch tube.jpg
A 9K34 Strela-3 (SA-14) missile and launch tube.
Type Man-portable air-defense systems (MANPADS)
Place of origin Soviet Union
Service history
In service 1974–present
Production history
Manufacturer KBM, Kolomna
Weight 10.3 kilograms (23 lb)
Length 1.47 metres (4.8 ft)

Flight altitude 2,300 metres (7,500 ft)
Speed 410 metres per second (1,500 km/h)

The 9K34 Strela-3 (Russian: 9К34 «Стрела-3»; English: arrow) man-portable air defence missile system (MANPADS) was developed in the Soviet Union as a response to the poor performance of the earlier 9K32 Strela 2 (SA-7 Grail) system. "9K34" is its GRAU designation and its NATO reporting name is SA-14 Gremlin. The missile was largely based on the earlier Strela 2, and thus development proceeded rapidly. The new weapon was accepted to service in the Soviet Army in January 1974.


The most significant change over the Strela 2 was the introduction of an all-new infra-red homing seeker head. The new seeker worked on FM modulation (con-scan) principle, which is less vulnerable to jamming and decoy flares than the earlier AM (spin-scan) seekers, which were easily fooled by flares and even the most primitive infrared jammers. Most importantly, the new seeker also introduced detector element cooling in the form of a pressurized nitrogen bottle attached to the launcher.

The effect of cooling was to expand the seeker's lead sulphide detector element's sensitivity range to longer wavelengths (slightly over 4 µm as opposed to 2.8 µm of uncooled PbS elements). In practice this made possible the tracking of cooler targets over longer ranges, and enabled forward-hemisphere engagement of jets under favourable circumstances.The seeker also had better tracking rate, enabling the missile to track maneuvering of fast and approaching targets.

A negative side effect from the aforementioned improvements was increased missile weight, which caused a slight decrease in the kinematic performance of the original Strela-2 (SA-7).[citation needed] Against relatively slow, low-altitude battlefield air threats the overall effectiveness was much improved.[citation needed]

Strela-3 missiles have been exported to over 30 countries.

The original Strela-3 missile was the 9M36. The follow-on to the Strela-3 was Igla.

The naval version of this missile has the NATO reporting name of SA-N-8.

Operational history

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During Operation Desert Storm on 17 February 1991 an F-16 and a Tornado GR1 of XV Squadron RAF was shot down by Strela-3.

An Airbus A300 cargo plane was hit by a Strela-3 missile after takeoff from Baghdad International Airport, and despite losing hydraulic power managed to land safely.


During the War in Abkhazia (1992-1993), a Russian Mi-8 helicopter was shot down by a Georgian Army SA-14 on December 14, 1992, resulting in the death of 3 crew and 58 passengers, most of them Russian refugees. A Georgian Air Force Su-25 was shot down over Nizhnaya Eshera on July 4, 1993 by SA-14,[1] and several other aircraft on both sides may have been shot down by SA-14s.[2]

Former Yugoslavia

One BAE Sea Harrier of the 801 Naval Air Squadron, operating from the aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal, was shot down during its attack two Serbian T-55 tank in Bosnia. The pilot, Lieutenant Nick Richardson, ejected and landed in territory controlled by friendly Bosnian Muslims (16 April 1994).

DRC Congo

A Zimbabwe Air Force Il-76 was shot down by Congolese rebels using an SA-14 on October 11, 1998 during the Second Congo War, resulting in the death of 40 troops and crew.[3]


SA-14s used by the Northern Alliance are credited with having shot down 8 Taliban MiG-21 and Su-22 fighters during the Taliban's 2000 offensive against Taloqan.[4]


It is reported that an Su-27 was shot down by a Strela-3 fired by UNITA forces as it was landing on 19 November 2000.

Comparison chart

System 9K32M Strela-2M (missile: 9M32M) 9K34 Strela-3 (missile: 9M36) [5] FIM-43C Redeye[6]
Service entry 1968 1974 1968
Mass, full system, ready to shoot 15 kg 16 kg 13.3 kg
Weight, missile 9.8 kg 10.3 kg 8.3 kg
Length 1.44 m 1.47 m 1.40 m
Warhead 1.15 kg (0.37 kg HMX) directed-energy blast fragmentation 1.17 kg (0.39 kg HMX) directed-energy blast fragmentation, including a 20g secondary charge to set off remaining propellant 1.06 kg M222 (0.36 kg HTA-3) blast fragmentation
Seeker type AM-modulated (spin scan), uncooled PbS detector element (1–2.8 µm sensitivity range). Tail-chase only. FM-modulated (con scan), nitrogen-cooled PbS detector element (2–4.3 µm sensitivity range). Limited forward hemisphere (all-aspect) capability AM-modulated, uncooled PbS detector element. Tail-chase only.
Maximum range 4200 m 4100 m 4500 m
Speed 430 m/s 410 m/s 580 m/s
Target's maximum speed, approaching/receding 150/260 m/s 310/260 m/s –/225 m/s
Engagement altitude 0.05-2.3 km 0.03-2.3 km 0.05-2.7 km



See also

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