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9K52 Luna-M (Frog-7)

8x8 Mobile Battlefield Rocket Launcher [ 1965 ]

The 9K52 Luna-M was a Soviet rocket-projecting development of the Cold War period but still sees service on the battlefields today.

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 03/02/2022 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site.

At a time when tensions between East and West ran extremely high during the Cold War period (1947-1991) and another major war in Europe seemed all but inevitable, the Soviet Union invested heavily in frontline rocket-projecting weapons to stave off an attack. One such development of the period became the 8x8 wheeled 9K52 "Luna-M" battalion-level mobile battlefield rocket launcher carrying a single large rocket over the modified chassis of a ZiL-135LM military truck. The rocket was capable of unleashing conventional, chemical, and nuclear payloads at range, reaching speeds of Mach 3 in flight, and could "touch" targets as far out as 40 miles. The vehicle was initially developed (under the designation of "3R-11" and "9R11") as a nuclear-capable solution to deter any advanced from the West, mainly in and around East Germany, but were later converted to a conventionally-minded variant to better serve a Soviet frontline assault.

The vehicle was known to NATO as "Frog-7" and remains in limited use worldwide. In practice, it proved inaccurate, sensitive to weather/environment, and required a resupply vehicle on hand to replenish the single-shot rocket component. As such, it was eventually succeeded in the Soviet inventory by the more effective OTR-21 "Tochka" (NATO: SS-21 "Scarab") of 1976 detailed elsewhere on this site.

First-use of this battlefield system was by Syria in 1973 during the Yom Kipper War against Israel. They remained in inventory long enough to be used in today's long-running civil war by Syria.

Major rocket variants of the line included the nuclear-minded 9M21B, the conventional 9M21F (High-Explosive, FRAGmentation - HE-FRAG), and the chemical-capable 9M21Kh. The 9M21E offered cluster munition capability and the Laith-90 was the version used by Iraq in its wars against neighboring Iran and, later, the West. The PV-65 designation covered training systems.

The 9K52 series had a prolific reach for its time, utilized in conflicts ranging from the Soviet-Afghan War (1979-1989) and Iran-Iraq War (1980-1988) to the Syrian Civil War (2011-Present) and the Yemeni Civil War (2014-Present). Its reach was such that it is still found on some battlefields today.

Active operators include former Soviet/Russian allied players such as Algeria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Belarus, Cuba, Egypt, Libya, North Korea, and Ukraine. Former operators of note include Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Iraq, Kuwait, Poland, and Romania.©MilitaryFactory.com
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Service Year

Soviet Union national flag graphic
Soviet Union

In Limited Service.

State Factories - Soviet Union
(View other Vehicle-Related Manufacturers)
National flag of Afghanistan National flag of Algeria National flag of Belarus National flag of Bosnia and Herzegovina National flag of Bulgaria National flag of Cuba National flag of Czechia National flag of Egypt National flag of modern Germany National flag of East Germany National flag of Hungary National flag of Iraq National flag of Kuwait National flag of Libya National flag of North Korea National flag of Poland National flag of Romania National flag of Russia National flag of the Soviet Union National flag of Syria National flag of Ukraine National flag of Yemen National flag of Yugoslavia Algeria; Afghanistan; Belarus; Bosnia and Herzegovina; Bulgaria (former); Czechoslovakia (former); Cuba; East Germany (former); Egypt; Hungary (former); Iraq (former); Kuwait (former); Libya; North Korea; Poland (former); Romania (former); Russia; South Yemen (former); Soviet Union (former); Syria; Ukraine; Yemen; Yugoslavia (former)
(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
Special Purpose
Special purpose design developed to accomplish an equally-special battlefield role or roles.

Wheeled Arrangement
Wheeled arrangement gives this system an inherent road-running capability, enhancing mobility.
Cross-Country Capability
Design includes such features as a track-link system or high ground clearance to better traverse offroad.
NBC Protection
Crew is provided (either as standard or optional) protection against Nuclear-Biological-Chemical agents for enhanced survivability in contaminated zones.
Crew has access to night-vision equipment, allowing for low-light or night time operations.
In-Direct Fire Capable
This system's capability is such that it can engage targets / target areas without Line-of-Sight attained.
Psychological Effect
Ability to provide lethal, in-direct firepower at range for area saturation; can include nuclear, biological, and chemical agents.

30.4 ft
9.26 m
10.3 ft
3.13 m
10.0 ft
3.06 m
30,865 lb
14,000 kg
15.4 tons
(Showcased structural values pertain to the 9K52 Luna-M production variant. Length typically includes main gun in forward position if applicable to the design)
Powerplant: 2 x ZiL-375YA V8 diesel-fueled engine driving conventional 8x8 all-wheeled arrangement.
Transmission: 1 x 5-speed manual (ZiL-135LM) or 6-speed automatic transmission system.
40.4 mph
(65.0 kph)
310.7 mi
(500.0 km)
(Showcased performance specifications pertain to the 9K52 Luna-M production variant. Compare this entry against any other in our database)
1 x Tactical battlefield rocket with conventional, chemical, or nuclear warhead / payload.

Supported Types

Graphical image of tank battlefield rockets

(Not all weapon types may be represented in the showcase above)
Single-shot use requiring accompanying resupply vehicle (which carries up to three rockets).

9K52 "Luna-M" - Base Series Designation.
9M21B - Nuclear-capable variant.
9M21E - Cluster munition variant.
9M21F - HI-FRAG rocket variant.
9M21Kh - Chemical rocket variant.
Laith-90 - Iraqi export model.
PV-65 - Training rocket variant.

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