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A S-5M rocket. It has a sharper nose than the original S-5 rocket and the fins do not fold back as far.

File:S-5 57mm rocket cross-section.JPG

A cross section of a S-5M 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).


Developed in early 1950s,[1] 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.[1]


ORO-58K launcher under MiG-19/F-6

UB-16-57UMP launchers under MiG-23

Su-20 with UB-32 rocket launchers

The S-5 is a 55 mm (2.2 in) calibre unguided rocket fired from a 57 mm calibre tube. It is used by fighter bombers and helicopters. It consists of a steel body containing a solid fuel rocket, and a high explosive warhead with a mechanical impact fuze. At the rear of the rocket is an elongated exhaust nozzle, attached to which are eight forward folding fins. The fins fold around the rocket when it is stowed in its launch tube, springing back as soon as it leaves the launch tube. In flight the fins provide stabilizing spin to the rocket, spinning it at approximately 750 rpm. The solid rocket motor burns for just 1.1 seconds, during which time it covers about 300 meters. The S-5 is carried in rocket pods, with 4 - 32 rockets. The first were ORO-57 launchers, made in variants with capacity of 4, 8 and 16 rockets. Most typical became ORO-57K for 8 rockets, used especially with MiG-19. Then, from early 1960s, typical launcher became UB-16-57, with 16 rockets, developed in several variants, for helicopters and planes. UB stands for "universal block", for it could be carried on typical bomb hardpoints, "57" is referring to the actual diameter of the launch tube (the diameter of the rocket plus 2 mm). First variant and UB-16-57U had conical forward part, next variant UB-16-57D had blunt forward part. From 1968, a variant UB-16-57UMP was produced, with conical forward part and sticking out five inner tubes.[1] In the 1970s there was developed an ultimate launcher UB-32 with 32 rockets, carried by heavier aircraft. In Poland, Mars-2 launcher was developed for 16 rockets, and in Romania, LPR 57 launchers for 16 rockets.

Operational history


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,[2] 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.[3]


The S-5 has seen use by the Syrian Air Force against opposition forces in the Syrian civil war.[4][unreliable source?]

Typical launchers specifications

MiG-21 Lancer firing S-5 rockets.

  • ORO-57K[5]
    • rockets: 8
    • length x diameter: 1447 x 220 mm
    • weight, empty: 33 kg
    • weight, loaded: 64 kg
    • aircraft: MiG-19
  • UB-16-57UMP[5]
    • rockets: 16
    • length x diameter: 1880 x 335 mm
    • weight, empty: 57 kg
    • weight, loaded: 138 kg
    • aircraft: MiG-21, Su-7, Mi-8 (various variants of UB-16-57)
  • UB-32[5]

Rocket specifications

Designation Type Length overall Launch weight Warhead weight Notes
S-5 GP 0.915 m 3.99 kg 1.16 kg Impact fuze
S-5M HE-FRAG ? ? ? Produces 75 splinters
S-5M1 HE-FRAG 0.882 m 3.86 kg 0.8 kg Produces 75 splinters
S-5MO Frag 0.998 m 4.82 kg 0.8 kg Warhead has 20 notched steel rings generate 360 fragments.
S-5K HEAT ? ? ? Shaped charge warhead, 130 mm versus RHA.
S-5K1 HEAT 0.83 m 3.64 kg 1.1 kg Shaped charge warhead, 130 mm versus RHA.
0.987 m 4.43 kg 1.36 kg Warhead has 10 notched steel rings, 220 fragments.
? ? ? Shaped charge with wound wire fragmentation jacket and sensitive piezoelectric impact fuze.
1.079 m 5.01 kg 1.8 kg Shaped charge with wound wire fragmentation jacket and sensitive piezoelectric impact fuze.
S-5S Flechette ? ? ? Warhead contains 1,000 to 1,100 40 mm long flechettes.
S-5SB Flechette ? ? ? Warhead contains 1,000 to 1,100 40 mm long flechettes.
S-5P (PARS-57) Chaff ? ? n/a Chaff rocket
S-5P1 Chaff 1.073 m 5.04 kg n/a Chaff rocket.
S-5-O Flare ? ? ? Flare / illumination
S-5-O1 Paraflare 0.948 m 4.94 kg 1.73 kg Parachute flare.

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 (Russian) C-5 at Ugolok Neba site
  4. [1] Brown Moses Blog
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 (Polish)Tomasz Szulc, Następcy Katiuszy. Cz.II in: nowa Technika Wojskowa nr 8/98, ISSN 1230-1655
  • Soviet/Russian Aircraft Weapons Since World War Two, Yefim Gordon, ISBN 1-85780-188-1
  • Mil Mi-24 Hind Attack Helicopter, Yefim Gordon and Dimitri Komissarov, ISBN 1-84037-238-9
  • Jane's Air Launched Weapons Issue 36, Duncan Lennox, ISBN 0-7106-0866-7
  • IDF: Gaza militants fired new kind of rocket at Israel, Haaretz Service, [2]

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