MANUFACTURER(S): Votkinsk Machine Building Plant - Soviet Union
OPERATORS: Bulgaria; Czech Republic; Czechoslovakia; East Germany; Germany; Slovakia; Soviet Union (Russia); Ukraine
Detailing the development and operational history of the SS-23 (Spider) / 9K714 Oka Tactical Ballistic Missile Carrier Vehicle.
Entry last updated on 6/22/2017.
Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com.
The OTR-23 "Oka" (9K714) (NATO codename of SS-23 "Spider") was a late-Cold War era Soviet development to fulfill the long-range mobile tactical ballistic missile role. Mobility arose from the 8x8 wheeled truck chassis used to haul a large, single-stage solid-fueled missile capable of delivering conventional or nuclear warhead loads. The system was in active production from 1979 until 1987 from the Votkinsk Machine Building Plant and saw adoption by the forces of Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Ukraine and the Soviet Union during its period of service. Ukraine and the Soviet Union are the remaining active users of the missile system today (2017).
The OTR-23 was developed to replace the aging line of SS-1 "SCUD" battlefield missile delivery systems that proved quite popular with Third World armies and saw much exposure during the Gulf War of 1991 in the hands of Iraq. Since the threat of nuclear war was still a large part of Cold War actions / reactions, the OTR-23 was given inherent nuclear-delivery capabilities. The system improved on range and firepower when compared to the outgoing SCUD series and would be used as a "first-strike" component against critical NATO targets and infrastructure when called upon. The mobility of the OTR-23 vehicle allowed it to be repositioned in short order and make it a hard target to locate and destroy by NATO airborne forces. Just five minutes was all that was needed in prepping the OTR-23 system to fire.
Three distinct missile variants were produced as the "9M714B", "9M714F" and "9M714K". B-model missiles were nuclear-armed types and ranged out to 500 kilometers. F-model missiles were standard FRAGmentation, High-Explosive (FRAG-HE) types ranged out to 450 kilometers. K-model missiles carried submunitions to be used against "soft targets" and ranged out to 300 kilometers.
A single OTR-23 system included the launcher vehicle itself as well as an ammunition vehicle carrying a single missile reload and a re-supply vehicle used to load the missile onto the launcher.
With the end of the Cold War in 1991, some of the Soviet stock of OTR-23 systems fell to newly-created nations though the nuclear capability was not transferred for obvious reasons. During the thawing of relations between the Soviet Union and the United States, the OTR-23 series was included as part of the disarmament phase by then-Soviet President Gorbachev.