ZRK "Cube": photo, specifications, video
ZRK "Cube": photo, specifications, video

ZRK "Cube": photo, specifications, video

“Cube” (according to NATO classification - SA-6 Gainful (translated as “Profitable”), GRAU index - 2K12) is a Soviet anti-aircraft missile system of military air defense. It was created in OKB-15 GKAT (at that time a branch of the Scientific Research Institute-17, now the Research Institute of Instrument Engineering named after VV Tikhomirov).


The history of the creation of the "Cube"


The creation of the "Cube" complex began in accordance with the resolution of the Council of Ministers of the USSR No. 817-839 of 18 July 1958. OKB-15 was appointed the main developer of the air defense system. Joint tests 2K12 carried out at the Donguz test site in January 1965 year and continued through June 1966 year.


Tests of the "Cube"


In 1959, the Cube ADMS passed the first test. As a result, the following serious shortcomings were clarified:

  • The camera movement had a poor heat-resistant coating. This disadvantage is explained by the fact that titanium was used for the manufacture of chambers. After testing, this metal was replaced by steel.
  • Unsuccessful design of air intakes.


In 1961, it was decided to replace the main designers involved in the creation of "Cuba". But, be that as it may, this did not accelerate the work on the improvement of the air defense system. In the period from 1961 to 1963, 83 rockets were launched from the air defense missile system. But only the 3 launcher was successful.

In 1964, the first rocket was fired, which contained the warhead. She was shot down the IL-28 (at medium altitude). Subsequent launches were successful.


The armament of the air defense system SV entered in the 1967 year.


Production of air defense systems


Who was responsible for the serial production of air defense missile systems?

  • Ulyanovsk Mechanical Plant MREP was engaged in the development of 1СXNNXX self-propelled guidance and reconnaissance systems.
  • Machine-Building Plant named after MI Kalinin MAP specialized in self-propelled launchers 2P25.
  • Dolgoprudny Machine-Building Plant MAP was responsible for creating the 3М9 SAM.
  • The complex was produced in the period from 1967 to 1983 year. During this time, more 600 complexes of various modifications were created. On tests and exercises, more 4 thousand rockets were fired.

Description of the "Cube"


The ADMS consists of one self-propelled guidance and reconnaissance system SURN 1С91, four self-propelled launchers for the SPU 2P25 and a targeting cockpit RGW 9C417. Each launcher has three 3M9 SAMs. Self-propelled guidance and reconnaissance installation and self-propelled launchers were located on tracked chassis of the GM type, manufactured by OKB-40, the targeting receiving cab is located on the chassis of the ZIL-131 machine. Also included were 2 transport-loading machines (TZM), each carrying 3 3М9М3 missiles. The NPVs are located on the chassis of the ZIL-131 machine and had a special hydraulic lift designed to transfer the missiles to the SPN 2P25 pylons.


Initially, the "Cube" was created as an air defense system to cover the motorized rifle and tank divisions of the Soviet Army. It consisted of an anti-aircraft missile floor, which was armed with the 5 CUB air defense system.


The technical indicators of the complex ensured the detection of enemy air objects at distances up to 65 kilometers and their shelling at distances from 4,5 to 23,5 kilometers in the height range to 14 thousand meters. The main targets for the Kub air defense missile system were cruise missiles and airplanes at speeds up to 600 meters per second (on a collision course). The Kub-М3 modification (it’s the last one) provided for the firing of airborne targets such as a helicopter in a hovering mode.


When creating the “Cube” complex, the aviation principles were used, namely the maximum return with the minimum size. In its class, the air defense system has become one of the most compact.

Design features and tasks launcher


The self-propelled launcher was located on the chassis of the GM-578, on the carriages, which had guides for missiles. 2P25 contains navigation equipment and electric actuators. In addition, the self-propelled unit was equipped with a calculating device, means of topographic location, an autonomous gas-turbine electrical unit, and a pre-launch control of the installation by a telecode connection. For docking missiles with the launcher used 2 connector. They were in missiles. Her prelaunch targeting was carried out by means of gun carriages, processing the information received from 1C91. The main task of radio-telecode communication is to provide 2P25 with the necessary data. Combat calculation of the installation - three people. The weight of the self-propelled launcher was 19,5 tons.


Features of the rocket device


The “Kub” air defense missile system is equipped with the 3М9 rocket, which was developed according to the “swivel wing” scheme. It differed from its counterpart 3М8 by the presence of additional steering wheels. As a result of their use, the designers managed to reduce the dimensions of the rotary wing. In addition, the steering gear did not require high power. Hydraulic drive noticed on the lighter pneumatic.

Capturing the airborne target from the start and its further tracking in Doppler frequency was made by the self-guided semi-active radar head 1СБ4, located in the front of the rocket. It contained a combined propulsion system. High-explosive fragmentation warhead weighed 57 kilogram. Autodiode two-channel radio fuse gave the command to undermine it. Rocket size - 5,8 m, diameter - 33 cm. The assembled rocket was transported in containers that were created by folding the arms of the stabilizers.


Rocket afterburner device


After its combustion, the charge of the gas generator entered the afterburning chamber through the air inlets, where the final combustion of the fuel was carried out. At the same time, the solid fuel charge itself was a 172 kg saber with a length of 1,7 meters and a diameter of 29 cm. Ballistic fuel was used for its production. Air intakes calculations for supersonic working conditions. At the launch of the rocket, all the openings of the air inlets were tightly closed with fiberglass plugs. The launch of the rocket was carried out at the launch site, before the main engine was used.


The start lasted up to five seconds. The inner part of the nozzle, which the fiberglass grating held, after 5-6 seconds was shot off and the work phase on the march section began.




"Square" 2K12E

This is an export version that was created in 1971 year. The main differences from the basic version: a modified target recognition system, the ability to work in tropics, a modified level of noise immunity.


"Cube-M" 2K12M

After the air defense system 2K12 entered service, work began on its refinement. In 1968, the Kub-M RZK 2K12М was created. The upgraded complex could hit targets that maneuver with overloads up to 5-6 g. At the same time, the lower bound of the lesion was reduced from 100 to 50 m, and the range of the lesion due to the improvement of radiation increased by 20%.


"Cube-M1" 2K12M1

This upgraded complex entered service in 1973 year. As a result of the improvements, it was possible to improve the protection of the homing head from interference, to expand the areas of destruction of the airborne target, to reduce the working time by about 5 s, to improve the reliability of all means of the complex. In addition, intermittent operation of the SURN 1C91 radar is planned, aimed at countering anti-radar missiles of the AGM-45 Shrike type.


"Cube-M3" 2K12M3

In the period from 1974 to 1975, the subsequent modernization of the 2K12 complex was carried out. The Kub-М3 2K12М3 ADMS entered service at the end of the 1976 year. Compared to the previous version, 2K12М3 was distinguished by extended borders of the affected area. In addition, it became possible to shoot "after" at air targets at speeds up to 300 meters per second. The average flight speed of the anti-aircraft missile system to 700 meters per second was also increased, and the possibility of hitting planes maneuvering with overloads to 8 g appeared. Among other improvements, it is worth highlighting the improved noise immunity of the homing missile, the reduced near-limit of the affected area, the increased probability of hitting the target on 10-15%.


"Cube-M3" 2K12 M3C


In 1970-e, there were active developments in the field of electronic warfare. Soviet developers could effectively counteract foreign MIM-23 Hawk type anti-aircraft missile systems. The 2K12M3C modification was designed to reduce the susceptibility of 2K12 to similar enemy assets. The new modification had Smalt protection from electronic warfare. The air defense system in 1979 year entered service.


Cube-M3A 2K12M3A


The latest modification of the 2K12 complex was made in 1981 year. The complex used a new modified rocket 3М9М4 with the weight of the warhead in 70 kilogram, but the complex was not adopted. The main reason for the refusal is the adoption of the more promising 9K37 Buk.


 "Cube-M4" 2K12M4

Work on the creation of a new anti-aircraft missile system 9K37 "Buk" was launched in 1972 year. The complex was planned to be commissioned in 1975 year. To speed up the work, the adoption was divided into 2 stages. The first one involved the introduction of a self-propelled 9А38 firing system with 9М38 missiles into the hull. Thanks to this solution, the number of target channels doubled from 5 to 10, and the combat-ready missiles from 60 to 75. In this form, the Kub-М4 air defense missile system 2412М4 entered service in 1978 year.


Composition of the Kub-М4 battery complex 2К12М4 (9К37-1 ЗРК "Buk-1")


  • 1 × SURN 1C91М3 (taken from the Kub-M3 air defense system)
  • 4 × SPU 2P25М3 (from the Kub-М3 air defense system)
  • 1 × SOU 9А38 (from the Buk missile defense system) with missiles with 3М9М3 or 9М38 missiles.


The anti-missile regiment consisted of a control battery, five starter batteries and auxiliary units.


Armament and combat use


The “Kub” air defense missile system (export name “Kvadrat”) was used by the army of the Warsaw Pact member countries and delivered to many countries in the Middle East, Africa and Asia. He took part in local military conflicts.

Significantly surpassed the analogue, significantly hampered the capabilities of the Air Force, in the future its effectiveness was significantly reduced, modernization was carried out.


It is exported to over forty countries of the world.


The battery control unit of the anti-aircraft missile system "Cube" included:


  • KBU (combat control cabin);
  • mobile radio altimeter PRV-16 “Reliability”, radar stations P-44 “Bronya”, P-18 “Malachite”, P-15 “Trail”. The radar complex provides rapid detection of enemy air targets at a distance of 200 km. KBU passed target indication SURN.

Combat use of the "Cube"

  • The first combat use of the “Cube” complex (more precisely, its export version “Square”) is the Doomsday War 1973 of the year. The air defense system was used by the Syrian troops. According to 64, an Israeli aircraft was shot down. 
  • Used by Syrian troops in the Israeli-Syrian conflict on the border. According to Russian sources, after eight launches of missiles, six aircraft were shot down.
  • The UNEF peacekeeping operation - the “Cube” Syrian anti-aircraft missile systems (together with the C-75), in the summer of 1974, participated in the destruction of the UN plane (it was carrying a peacekeeping mission) after a flight violation in the designated corridor. Syrian troops shot down the intruder, resulting in the death of a crew member 9 (these were Canadian peacekeepers). The wreckage of the plane fell near the village of Hell Dimas.
  • They were used at the start of hostilities during the Iran-Iraq war in 1980 by Iraq. As a result of the use of the Kvadrat complexes, 2K12E managed to shoot down an 21 Iranian aircraft.
  • In the 1982 year - the Lebanese war.
  • The war for the independence of Western Sahara between Morocco and Mauritania during the 1973-1991 period was used by the Polisario Front. SAMs shot down such aircraft as the Mirage F1 and F-5 Tiger II.
  • Operation Eldorado Canyon 1986 of the Year - used by Libyans to repel attacks from the Americans.
  • In the period from 1986 to 1987 year in the Chadian-Libyan conflict.
  • South African air raids - used by Angola against South African aircraft.
  • Operation Deliberated force - used by the Bosnian Serbs. Then the ZRK was shot down by a General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon fighter.
  • In 1999, Yugoslavia was used in the war with NATO. According to Russian sources, then with the help of the air defense system several NATO planes were shot down.
  • During the civil war in Syria - then the Syrian air defense attacked the installations "Kvadrat", "Buk" and others to counteract the missile attack of Britain, the United States and France in 2018. According to data from the Russian Defense Ministry, 103 cruise missiles were used in total, of which 71 was intercepted by Syrian air defense weapons. An 21 rocket was launched from the Kvadrat missile system, which hit the 11 targets. According to the US Department of Defense, none of the missiles were hit, and most of the launches were made after cruise missiles hit targets.

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