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SA-18 (Grouse) / 9K38 Igla

Portable, Shoulder-Launched Anti-Aircraft Missile System

Soviet Union | 1983

"The 9K38 Igla shoulder-launched anti-aircraft missile system emerged from testing in the 1970s and has since proven an effective modern aircraft counter."

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 03/15/2022 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site; No A.I. was used in the generation of this content.
The SA-18 (NATO: "Grouse"), formally recognized by the Russian Army as 9K38 "Igla", is a modern man-portable, shoulder-fired anti-aircraft system. The system consists of the launch tube with integrated optics and trigger unit coupled to an infrared homing missile. The weapon was adopted by the Soviet military in 1983 and retained by the modern Russian military after the fall of the Soviet Empire in 1991. The SA-18 is classified a short-to-medium-range anti-aircraft counter for threats posed by low-flying aircraft such as fixed-wing strike platforms and attack helicopters. Production of the weapon is handled through the KBM bureau of Kolomna, Russia.

Design origins of the SA-18 can be traced back to an early 1970s initiative intended on producing a modern, more effective and portable anti-aircraft measure for the Soviet Army beyond the scope of theexisting SA-7 and SA-14 systems then in use. The program eventually evolved into two distinct product goals which produced the interim-minded (and technologically simpler) 9K310 "Igla-1" (NATO: "SA-16") and the more advanced 9K38 "Igla" (NATO: "SA-18"). The SA-18 launcher appeared as a follow-up to the SA-14 family though with an all-new missile development. The overall design of the weapon was conventional, including a sleek tubular launch tube which was set over the operator's shoulder when fired. When transported, the system was afforded a shoulder strap. The powerpack, trigger unit with pistol grip and optics are all contained at the frontal section of the launcher.

The SA-18 was adopted into Red Army service in 1983 (the SA-16 in 1981). A major modernization then produced the latest Igla incarnation recognized as "Igla-S" (NATO: SA-24 "Grinch"). A navalized form of the SA-18 is known to NATO as the SA-N-10 "Grouse".

The 9M39 series missile relied on a two-color infrared guidance system (minimizing vulnerability to flares deployed by targeted aircraft) and was propelled by a single solid fuel rocket motor. The missile managed an operational range out to 3.2 miles and could operate at ceilings of 11,000 feet while reaching speeds in the neighborhood of Mach 2.3. The lethal payload of the missile consisted of a 2.6lb warhead detonation reached by both contact and fuse. The missile was nearly as long as the launch tube itself and sported spring-loaded fins for in-flight stabilization after launch. With its new seeker, the missile now held an inherently longer effective range as well as improved engagement speeds. Perhaps the most noticeable improvement came from its self-protection against the latest in electro-optical jamming equipment. As such, the missile could manage a probable kill value as high as 48% against an unsuspecting, unprotected aircraft.

The SA-18 is utilized by a plethora of world powers with many owing procurement to close Soviet-Russian relations of the Cold War. As such, nations such as Egypt, Syria, Iran, Ukraine and Vietnam all field the SA-18 system.

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The physical qualities of the SA-18 (Grouse) / 9K38 Igla. Information presented is strictly for general reference and should not be misconstrued as useful for hardware restoration or operation.
1,574 mm
61.97 in
O/A Length
1,574 mm
61.97 in
Barrel Length
39.46 lb
17.90 kg
Tube-Launched, Infrared-Guided Missile
Single-Shot Reusable
Integrated Optics
Performance specifications presented assume optimal operating conditions for the SA-18 (Grouse) / 9K38 Igla. Information presented is strictly for general reference and should not be misconstrued as useful for hardware restoration or operation.
17,060 ft
5,199.9 m | 5,686.7 yds
Notable series variants as part of the SA-18 (Grouse) / 9K38 Igla Portable, Shoulder-Launched Anti-Aircraft Missile System family line.
SA-18 "Grouse" - NATO codename designation
9K38 "Igla" (SA-18 "Grouse") - Russian GRAU designation; appearing in 1983.
9K310 "Igla-1" (SA-16 "Gimlet") - Simplified production version appearing in 1981.
SA-N-10 "Grouse" - NATO codename for navalized SA-18 model.
9K338 "Igla-S" (SA-24 "Grinch") - Modern improved variant of 9K38/SA-18 series.
Global customers who have evaluated and/or operated the SA-18 (Grouse) / 9K38 Igla. Nations are displayed by flag, each linked to their respective national small arms listing.

Contractor(s): KBM - Soviet Union / Russia
National flag of Armenia National flag of Belarus National flag of Brazil National flag of Bulgaria National flag of Cuba National flag of Egypt National flag of Eritrea National flag of Finland National flag of Georgia National flag of Hungary National flag of India National flag of Indonesia National flag of Iraq National flag of Iran National flag of Kazakhstan National flag of Macedonia National flag of Malaysia National flag of Mexico National flag of Mongolia National flag of Morocco National flag of Myanmar National flag of Peru National flag of Russia National flag of Serbia National flag of Singapore National flag of Slovakia National flag of South Korea National flag of the Soviet Union National flag of Sri Lanka National flag of Syria National flag of Thailand National flag of Turkey National flag of Ukraine National flag of Vietnam National flag of Zimbabwe

[ Armenia; Belarus; Brazil; Bulgaria; Cuba; Egypt; Eritrea; Finland; Georgia; Hungary; Indonesia; India; Iran; Iraq; Kazakhstan; Macedonia; Myanmar; Malaysia; Mexico; Morocco; Mongolia; Peru; Russia; Serbia; Singapore; Slovakia; South Korea; Soviet Union; Sri Lanka; Syria; Thailand; Turkey; Ukraine; Vietnam; Zimbabwe ]
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Image of the SA-18 (Grouse) / 9K38 Igla
Image copyright www.MilitaryFactory.com; No Reproduction Permitted.

Design Qualities
Some designs are single-minded in their approach while others offer a more versatile solution to requirements.
Some designs stand the test of time while others are doomed to never advance beyond the drawing board; let history be their judge.
Going Further...
The SA-18 (Grouse) / 9K38 Igla Portable, Shoulder-Launched Anti-Aircraft Missile System appears in the following collections:
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