What Is Buk Missile System
The Buk missile system is a family of self-propelled, medium-range surface-to-air missile systems developed by the Soviet Union and its successor state, the Russian Federation, and designed to fight cruise missiles, smart bombs,fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft, and unmanned aerial vehicles.
The Buk missile system is the successor to the NATO reporting name SA-6 “Gainful”. The first version of Buk adopted into service carried the GRAU designation 9K37 and was identified in the west with the NATO reporting name “Gadfly”as well as the US Department of Defense designation SA-11. Since its initial introduction into service the Buk missile system has been continually upgraded and refined. With the integration of a new missile the Buk-M1-2 and Buk-M2 systems also received a new NATO reporting name Grizzly and a new DoD designation SA-17. The latest incarnation “Buk-M3” is scheduled for production.
A naval version of the system, designed by MNIIRE Altair (currently part of GSKB Almaz-Antey) for the Russian Navy, according to Jane’s Missiles & Rockets, received the GRAU designation 3S90M1and will be identified with the NATO reporting name Gollum and a DoD designation SA-N-7C. The naval system is scheduled for delivery in 2014.
Use And Drawback Of Buk Missile
These missile launchers are specially created for hitting high-altitude aircraft, and can fire at targets of up to 80,000 feet.
But unless linked to other weapons or an air traffic control system, they are almost incapable of telling the difference between military and civilian aircraft because of a quirk related to aircraft transponders. The transponder is a device that broadcasts an aircraft’s identity when a radar “interrogates” it for information.
The Buk is mobile, easy to use, and capable of hitting aircraft at all but the most outlandish altitudes. Yet as the MH17 disaster proves, that comes with a huge potential drawback, especially when the weapon is in the hands of people incapable of using it responsibly.