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Ukraine Destroys a Russian 9S36M Fire-Control Radar in Buk-M3 System for the First Time

On August 29, 2023, a tweet from Angry Cossack confirmed that the Russian military had lost a 9S36M fire-control radar, a crucial component of the Buk-M3 missile system. This marks the first time such a loss has been publicly acknowledged.
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Russian 9S36M Fire-Control Radar destroyed by Ukrainian Forces (Picture source: Twitter account of Angry Cossack )

The loss of a 9S36M fire-control radar, an integral part of the Buk-M3 surface-to-air missile system, has been confirmed. This is the first time that the loss of such a critical component has been officially acknowledged. Anti-aircraft defense plays a crucial role in the Russo-Ukrainian conflict, and the loss of such expensive and rare equipment is a setback for the Russian armed forces.

The Buk-M3 is a medium-range air defense system; its missiles have a firing range that varies from 2,500 to 70,000 meters. The system is primarily used by Russia and operates with a terminal semi-active radar homing guidance system, with inertial mid-course updates and course correction via radio data link. The warhead of the missile is a high-explosive fragmentation (HE) type. The system has dimensions of 9.3 meters in length, 3.25 meters in width, and 3.8 meters in height. It is also designed to be operated by a crew of four people.

The addition of these technical specifications highlights the importance of the 9S36M radar in the overall functioning of the Buk-M3 system. The radar not only serves to detect and track targets but also plays a key role in guiding the 9R31M missiles, which are projectiles designed to neutralize a variety of aerial threats at different altitudes and distances. The loss of a 9S36M fire-control radar is a significant setback for the Russian military, as it hampers the system's ability to effectively engage aerial threats. It also raises questions about the system's reliability and vulnerability, particularly in high-stakes operational scenarios.

Replacing a 9S36M fire-control radar is not only technically challenging but also financially burdensome. The cost of the component is estimated to be in the millions, adding to the overall expenditure of the Russian defense budget. The loss of a 9S36M fire-control radar from the Buk-M3 system is a significant event that has both operational and financial implications for the Russian military. Moreover, this destruction comes at an inopportune time, as various countries have announced the upcoming delivery of F-16s to Ukraine. Such a system would have been handy for the Russians to counter this new threat.

Ukraine Destroys a Russian 9S36M Fire Control Radar in Buk M3 System for the First Time 925 002

Russian 9S36M Fire-Control Radar in Buk-M3 Medium range surface-to-air defense missile system (Picture source: Vitaly V.Kuzmin)


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