OTR-23 Oka

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OTR-23 Oka
SS-23 Spider
SS-23 Sofia Military History Museum.JPG
A 9P71 TEL at the National Museum of Military History in Sofia, Bulgaria.
Type Tactical ballistic missile
Place of origin  Soviet Union
Service history
Used by See operators
Production history
Designer KBM (Kolomna)
Manufacturer Votkinsk Machine Building Plant
Produced 1979 – 1987
Specifications
Weight 4,360 kg (9,610 lb)
Length 7.53 m (24.7 ft)
Diameter 0.89 m (2 ft 11 in)
Warhead Nuclear 50-100 kt, HE fragmentation, submunition, or chemical

Engine Single-stage solid propellant
Operational
range
500 km (310 mi)
Guidance
system
Inertial with terminal active radar
Accuracy 30-150 m CEP
Launch
platform
Mobile TEL

The OTR-23 Oka (Russian: OTP-23 «Ока»; named after Oka River) was a mobile theatre ballistic missile (Russian: оперативно-тактический ракетный комплекс) deployed by the Soviet Union near the end of the Cold War to replace the obsolete SS-1C 'Scud B'. It carried the GRAU index 9K714 and was assigned the NATO reporting name SS-23 Spider. The introduction of the Oka significantly strengthened Soviet theatre nuclear capabilities as its range and accuracy allowed it not only to strike hardened NATO targets such as airfields, nuclear delivery systems, and command centers, but moving targets as well. It also had a fast reaction time, being able to fire in approximately five minutes, and was nearly impossible to intercept, thereby allowing it to penetrate defenses.[1]

The main components of the 9K714 system were:[2]

  • the transport and launch vehicle PU 9P71 (Russian: cамоходная пусковая установка), based on the amphibious BAZ-6944;
  • the similar transporter-loader TZM 9T230 (Russian: транспортно-заряжающая машина) with one spare missile and equipped with a hydraulic crane;
  • the re-supply vehicle TM 9T240 (Russian: транспортная машина), a ZIL-131 tractor with semi-trailer to transport a missile (in transport container 9Ya249) and a warhead (in 9Ya251 container).

The operational life of the Oka was limited and controversial. The Soviet military asserted that the Oka only had a maximum range of 250 miles (400 km). American experts on the contrary estimated it had a greater range. In 1987, Mikhail Gorbachev proposed to George Schultz that he would unilaterally remove all Okas, if it would prevent the United States from building up its own short-range nuclear forces in Europe, despite the fact that the Soviet military was in favor of the Oka. Schultz however lacked the authority to act on the suggestion.[3] Gorbachev included the Oka in the class of systems to be discontinued as part of the INF Treaty as a gesture of goodwill, even though Soviet assertions of its maximum range did not put it outside of the specifications of the treaty.[citation needed]

There was diplomatic controversy over this weapons system in April 1990 when the Soviets informed the US of their covert transfer of at least 120 missiles to the Warsaw Pact states of Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria, and East Germany during the time of negotiation of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. Evidence indicates that the missiles were transferred with conventional warheads only, although equipment to load Soviet nuclear warheads was apparently retained.[4]

Missile Variants[edit]

  • The 9M714B missile armed with the AA-60 (9N63) nuclear warhead and possessing a maximum range of 500 km.
  • The 9M714F missile armed with a FRAG-HE warhead weighing 450 kg and possessing a maximum range of 450 km.
  • The 9M714K missile armed with a submunitions warhead 9N74K weighing 715 kg and possessing a maximum range of 300 km.

In addition to these warheads, the SS-23 was also reported to be able to deliver chemical munitions.

Operators[edit]

 Soviet Union
Eliminated as directed by the INF Treaty.
 East Germany
Eliminated in the 1990s.
 Bulgaria
Eliminated in 2002.
 Czechoslovakia
Passed on to successor states.
 Czech Republic
Eliminated in the 1990s.
 Slovakia
Elimination in 2000.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.missilethreat.com/missilesoftheworld/id.142/missile_detail.asp MissileThreat: SS-23
  2. ^ ru:Ока (ОТРК)
  3. ^ David Hoffman, The Dead Hand: The Untold Story of the Cold War Arms Race and Its Dangerous Legacy (Random House, 2009), 283-284.
  4. ^ http://www.fas.org/nuke/guide/russia/theater/ss-23.htm SS-23 SPIDER - Russian / Soviet Nuclear Forces

See also[edit]

External links[edit]