SA-8 (Gecko) / 9K33 OSA 6x6 Wheeled Self-Propelled SAM Vehicle
The SA-8 Gecko short-range anti-aircraft defense vehicle was introduced in the early 1970s and is still in operational service today through modernized forms.
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To contend with ever-improving, more agile low-altitude aircraft emerging from the West during the Cold War, the Soviet military developed and ultimately adopted the 9K33 "Osa" ("Wasp") self-propelled, wheeled, amphibious Surface-to-Air Missile (SAM) vehicle. It was designated "SA-8" and codenamed "Gecko" by NATO once its existence was verified. Design work by the NII-20 Research Institute spanned from 1965 into the early 1970s to which the system began formal service in 1971 (continuing today - 2014). The SA-8 has proven a combat veteran, seeing action in the Lebanon Civil War (1982), the Angolan Civil War (1975-2002), the Persian Gulf War (1991), the South Ossetia War (2008), the Libyan Civil War (2011), and the Syrian Civil War (2011-present). It is estimated that some 1,200 units have been produced with several notable variants having appeared.
The 19-ton system features a vehicle section with a running length of 9 meters, width of 2.75 meters and a height of 4.2 meters. It's typical operating crew is five. The vehicle consists of a lightly-armored hull form atop a 6x6 wheeled chassis. The chassis supports cross-country travel while the hull is cleared for amphibious crossings which then played well into established Soviet ground warfare doctrine (forged largely by actions in World War 2 some decades earlier). The vehicle featured a D20K300 diesel-fueled engine of 300 horsepower output which provided driving ranges out to 500 kilometers and road speeds nearing 80 kmh. In water, the vehicle managed a pedestrian 8 kmh. The driving compartment lay at front in the usual way with the launcher component was sat over the rear of the vehicle, the radar element affixed over the frontal center mass. The six road wheels, three to a hull side, were large and well-spaced for good balance while the overall hull shape was quite shallow, presenting a smaller target along the horizon. The powered launcher component fitted two groups of three short-range missile launch tubes (for a total of six missiles) in a side-by-side arrangement - the launchers separated at center the radar component.