OTR-21 Tochka

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OTR-21 Tochka
SS-21 Scarab
OTR-21 Tochka during a parade in Kiev.jpg
Missiles systems Tochka-U during a parade rehearsal in Kiev
Type Tactical ballistic missile
Place of origin  Soviet Union
Service history
In service 1976 – present (Scarab A)
1989 – present (Scarab B)
1990 – present (Scarab C)
Used by See Operators
Production history
Manufacturer KBM (Kolomna)
Produced 1973
Weight 2,000 kg (4,400 lb) Scarab A
2,010 kg (4,430 lb) Scarab B
1,800 kg (4,000 lb) Scarab C
Length 6.4 m (21 ft)
Diameter 0.65 m (2 ft 2 in)
Warhead Chemical, 100 kt nuclear warhead, EMP, or fragmentation filling

Engine Single-stage Solid-fuel rocket
70 km (43 mi) Scarab A
120 km (75 mi) Scarab B
185 km (115 mi) Scarab C
Speed 1.8 km/s (1.1 mi/s)
Inertial guidance, Totschka-P added passive radar against radar installations
BAZ-5921 Mobile TEL

OTR-21 Tochka (Russian: оперативно-тактический ракетный комплекс (ОТР) «Точка»; English: Tactical Operational Missile Complex "Tochka", "Point") is a Soviet tactical ballistic missile. Its GRAU designation is 9K79; its NATO reporting name is SS-21 Scarab. It is transported in a 9P129 vehicle and raised prior to launch. It uses an inertial guidance system.

The OTR-21 forward deployment to East Germany began in 1981, replacing the earlier FROG series of unguided artillery rockets.


The OTR-21 is a mobile missile launch system, designed to be deployed along with other land combat units on the battlefield. While the 9K52 Luna-M is large and relatively inaccurate, the OTR-21 is much smaller. The missile itself can be used for precise strikes on enemy tactical targets, such as control posts, bridges, storage facilities, troop concentrations and airfields. The fragmentation warhead can be replaced with a nuclear, biological or chemical warhead. The solid propellant makes the missile easy to maintain and deploy.

OTR-21 units are usually managed in a brigade structure. There are 18 launchers in a brigade; each launcher is provided with 2 or 3 missiles. The vehicle is completely amphibious, with a maximum road speed of 60 km/h (37 mph) and 8 km/h (5.0 mph) in water. It is NBC-protected. The system has been in development since 1968. Three variants have been created.

Scarab A[edit]

The initial Scarab A entered service with the Soviet Army in 1975. It carries one of three types of warhead:

  • 482 kg (1,063 lb) of conventional HE
  • fragmentation (lethal radius more than 200 m (660 ft)
  • nuclear

The minimal range is about 15 km (9.3 mi), maximum range is 70 km (43 mi); its circular error probable (CEP) is estimated to be about 150 m (490 ft).

Scarab B[edit]

The improved Scarab B (Tochka-U) was passed state tests from 1986 to 1988, introduced in 1989. Improved propellant increased the range to 120 km (75 mi). CEP significantly improved, to less than 95 m (312 ft).

Scarab C[edit]

A third variant, Scarab C, was developed in the 1990s. Again, range increased (185 km (115 mi)), and CEP decreased to less than 70 m (229 ft). Scarab C weighs 1,800 kg (4,000 lb).

North Korean variant[edit]

North Korea has developed a local variant, the KN-02 Toksa (Viper), by reverse-engineering Syrian-supplied Scarab A missiles.[1] The Toksa has a range of 120–140 km, and it is the most accurate ballistic missile in KPA's inventory to date. In 2014 an enhanced version was tested at a range of 220 kilometres (140 mi).[2] The KN-02 uses a MAZ-630308-224 truck instead of the 9P129. Some reports suggest North Korea is developing an anti-ship ballistic missile version of the KN-02. Its range would be longer than current KN-01 variants and be much more difficult to intercept due to its speed.[3]

Use in combat[edit]

  • 1994 The Yemeni government (formerly North Yemen) used Tochka missiles against southern forces during the 1994 Yemen civil war in response to Scud missile attacks.[4]
  • 1999 Russia used the missiles in the Chechen Wars.[5]
  • 2008 At least 15 Tochka missiles were deployed by Russian forces from August 8–11 during the 2008 South Ossetia war.[6]
  • Multiple videos show the Ukrainian Army fired multiple Tochka missiles near Donetsk during the War in Donbass.[7][8][9][10] There exists a YouTube video of a failed Tochka launched, claimed to be in Eastern Ukraine; it is unclear which side the Tochka belonged to.[11]
  • 2014 The Syrian Army fired at least one Tochka against the insurgents during the battle of Wadi al-Deif (near Ma'rat al-Nu'man, in the province of Idlib) in December 2014.[12]
  • 2015 On 20 August during the Saudi Arabian-led intervention in Yemen, Houthi fighters supported by regular Yemeni Army units loyal to ousted president Ali Abdullah Saleh fired an OTR-21 targeting a Saudi Naval base in Saudi Arabia.[13]
  • On 4 September 2015 another missile hit an arms depot close to the positions of Pro-hadi forces,[14] killing over 100 troops (52 UAE, 10 Saudi, 5 Bahraini, and unspecified number of Yemeni troops loyal to the exiled prime minister).[15][16] The attack in the province of Marab is the deadliest incident in the history of the UAE since its founding in 1971[17] and surpasses the death toll of previous ballistic missiles attacks like the 1973 Yom Kippur War scud attack and the attack at American barracks in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia during the Gulf War.[citation needed]


Map of OTR-21 operators in blue with former operators in red
Ukrainian OTR-21 Tochka missiles during the Independence Day parade in Kiev

Current operators[edit]

At least 8 launchers Tochka-U
3 launchers Tochka-U with 4 missiles
36 [18]
18 [19]
unknown number
 North Korea
unknown number of variant KN-02
220 launchers.[20] Missile systems have been upgraded since 2004 (replacing the onboard automated control systems)[21][22] It is planned to be replaced on 9K720 Iskander.[23][24]
90 [25]
unknown number
10. Some of them fell into the hands of Houthi rebels. At least two missiles were used in combat.

Former operators[edit]

passed on to successor states.
 Czech Republic
inherited from Czechoslovakia, retired.
 East Germany
passed on to Germany.
4 [26] retired in 2005, because of lack of rockets and service parts
small number, inherited from Czechoslovakia, all retired.
 Soviet Union
Passed on to successor states.

See also[edit]

KN-02 Toksa


  1. ^ John Pike. "KN-02 Short Range Ballistic Missile". Retrieved 23 December 2014. 
  2. ^ John G. Grisafi (16 August 2014). "Recent launches revealed as surface-to-surface missile". NK News. Retrieved 23 August 2014. 
  3. ^ N.Korea Developing Anti-Ship Missile - Chosun.com, 14 October 2013
  4. ^ Zaloga, Steven J. Scud Ballistic Missile and Launch Systems 1955-2005, page 39.
  5. ^ "It Was No Spontaneous, But Planned War". Novaya Gazeta. 
  6. ^ Fulghum, David A.; Douglas Barrie; Robert Wall; Andy Nativi (2008-08-15). "Georgian Military Folds Under Russian Attack". Aviation Week. Retrieved 2008-11-09. 
  7. ^ "Ukraine denies using ballistic missiles". Deutsche Welle. 2 August 2014. Retrieved 2 October 2014. 
  8. ^ "NATO flip-flops over Kiev use of ballistic missiles against militants". RT. 1 August 2014. Retrieved 2 October 2014. 
  9. ^ Tim Lister (3 September 2014). "Wrecked tanks, deserted playgrounds: Inside the kill zone of eastern Ukraine". CNN. Retrieved 2 October 2014. In a burned field south of Ilovaisk, on what was the frontline of combat a few days ago, we found a large green tube amid bushes and trees. Military experts have identified it as the rocket motor section of a Russian-made SS-21 "Scarab" ballistic missile. But both the Ukrainian and Russian militaries have the SS-21. 
  10. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rcA3LtpiQOQ
  11. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v6rDPTtQJv0
  12. ^ "( + ) -". Retrieved 23 December 2014. 
  13. ^ http://spioenkop.blogspot.fr/2015/08/houthis-continue-to-fire-ballistic.html
  14. ^ http://www.janes.com/article/55137/arab-coalition-deploys-patriot-to-yemen
  15. ^ Toll From Yemen Rebel Attack Rises as 10 Saudi Troops Killed
  16. ^ [1]
  17. ^ [2]
  18. ^ Belarus Army Equipment
  19. ^ Milev, Momchil (2014-04-11). "Da izkovem ot plugovete mechove". Economedia. p. 2. Retrieved 9 August 2014. 
  20. ^ http://warfare.be/db/catid/363/linkid/1704/title/ss-21-scarab-/-otr-21-tochka-u/
  21. ^ "24.02.12 : -ӻ". Retrieved 23 December 2014. 
  22. ^ The Military Balance 2010. — P. 223.
  23. ^ "- .name". Retrieved 23 December 2014. 
  24. ^ Денис Тельманов. "Сухопутные войска теряют тактические ракеты". Известия. Retrieved 23 December 2014. 
  25. ^ Ground Forces Equipment - Ukraine
  26. ^ MILITARIUM - Wojsko Polskie - Uzbrojenie

External links[edit]