9P113 TEL with 9M21 rocket
|Place of origin||Soviet Union|
|In service||1964 – present|
|Wars||Soviet War in Afghanistan, Iran-Iraq War, Gulf War, Yugoslav Wars, Invasion of Iraq, Libyan Civil War, Syrian Civil War|
|Variants||9M21B (nuclear) , 9M21F (HE) and 9M21G (chemical) , Laith-90|
|Weight||2.2–2.5 tonnes (350–390 st)|
|Length||9 m (30 ft)|
|Diameter||0.5 m (1 ft 8 in)|
|Maximum firing range||70 km (43 mi)|
|Warhead||High explosive, chemical, nuclear|
|Warhead weight||550 kg (1,210 lb)|
|8 x 8 ZIL-135 missile launcher|
The 9K52 Luna-M (Russian: Луна; English: moon) is a Soviet short-range artillery rocket system. The 9M21 rockets are unguided and spin-stabilized. Its GRAU designation is 9K52, and its NATO reporting name is FROG-7. "FROG" is a backronym for "Free Rocket Over Ground".
The 9M21 rockets are mounted on a wheeled 9P113 transporter erector launcher (TEL) based on the ZIL-135 8x8 army truck. The TEL features a large hydraulic crane used for reloading rockets from 9T29 transporters (also ZIL-135 based). The 9M21 has a range up to 70 km and a CEP (circular error probable) between 500 m and 700 m. The road mobile rocket has a 550 kg warhead and is capable of delivering high explosive, nuclear, or chemical warheads.
Six of the initial version of the 9M21 were in Cuba during the missile crisis in October 1962. These missiles, which were ready to fire, had nuclear warheads installed. A further 70 warheads were stockpiled on the island.[dubious ]
The Luna was later extensively deployed throughout some Soviet satellite states. The rocket has been widely exported and is now in the possession of a large number of countries. After the war with Iran, Iraq modified its stock of 9M21s with a joint assistance programme with Egypt and Egyptian Army engineers, by extending their range to 90 km and fitting a submunition-carrying warhead. The rocket was renamed Laith-90.
In the course of the Yugoslav Wars, Serb forces launched FROG-7 rockets on a number of Croatian cities, like Zupanja, on 12 December 1992, or the capital Zagreb, on 11 September 1993, while the battle of Medak Pocket was still ongoing.
During the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the Headquarters of the 2nd Brigade, US 3rd Infantry Division, Tactical Operations Center (TOC) of U.S Col. David Perkins, was targeted and struck by either an Iraqi FROG-7 rocket or an Ababil-100 SSM missile, killing three soldiers and two embedded journalists. Another 14 soldiers were injured, and 22 vehicles destroyed or seriously damaged, most of them Humvees.
Starting in 2012, during the Syrian Civil War, the Syrian Arab Army fired several FROG-7 rockets against different areas under control of different insurgent formations. Once again they proved to be an area weapon with scarse military effectiveness against dispersed targets while inflicting severe damage to the civilian population and infrastructure.
- Nuclear-armed variant, fitted with a 500 kg (1,213-lb) warhead.
- This variant is fitted with a 390 kg (860-lb) warhead.
- Iraqi version with increased range (90 km) and submunition warhead.
- Algeria -24 - acquired between 1964 and 1974, 15 systems supposed to be decommissioned by 2014.
- Belarus - Some (36 units of 9K52 and Tochka)
- Egypt - 24 launchers acquired between 1960 and 1969, most likely decommissioned
- Libya - 45
- North Korea - Some (24 units of 9K52 and 2K6 Luna)
- Russia - Some in storage
- Syria - 30
- Ukraine - 50
- Yemen - 12
- East Germany
- Kuwait (Captured by Iraqi forces during the Gulf War)
- South Yemen
- Soviet Union
- Cordesman, Anthony: Iraq and the War of Sanctions. Greenwood Publishing Group, 1999. Page 453. ISBN 0275965287
- "Serbs Fired Surface-to-Surface Missile at Zupanja". FBIS Daily Report: East Europe, Issues 241-252. The Service. 12 December 1992.
- Wood, John (2003). The Chance of War: Canadian Soldiers in the Balkans, 1992-1995. Dundurn. p. 107. ISBN 1550024264.
- "Engineers quietly do job, face deadly missile strike". Toledo Blade. Retrieved 2015-12-29.
- "He (Lt. Col. Wesley, second in command) had gotten only thirty feet from his vehicle when a powerful Abril (sic) missile hit it dead center." Lacey, Jim:Takedown: the 3rd Infantry Division's twenty-one day assault on Baghdad. Naval Institute Press, 2007, page 243. ISBN 1-59114-458-2
- Zucchino, David (2004). Thunder Run: The Armored Strike to Capture Baghdad. Grove Press. p. 162.
- UK MOD Operation Ellamy from Global Security website, 9 May 2011
- Military balance 2010
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