Berkut is also known as S-25, NATO reporting name is SA-1 Guild

S-25 stands for Systema 25, refers to the entire missile system, radar and launchers. Parts of the system include the V-300 missile, the R-113 and B-200 radar, and the A-11/A-12 antenna for the B-200.

The S-25 can hit targets at a speed of 1,500 km/h at an altitude of 20 km, with a maximum range of 35 km. According to many military experts, the Berkut air defense system in the 1950s was the most advanced air defense system.

S-25 Berkut
S-25 Berkut

Launched at the dawn of the missile era, it was clear that the Berkut anti-aircraft missile system had certain shortcomings. First, the Berkut anti-aircraft missile system was very expensive to build and maintain. Accordingly, only Moscow had the financial capacity to cover the complex of the missile system. Even because of the high costs, plans to build a missile complex to defend Leningrad were cut, not to mention other Soviet cities.

Second, the Berkut anti-aircraft missile system was not maneuverable. This Disadvantage made it a great target for enemy aircraft in the event of an armed conflict. Third, the Berkut anti-aircraft missile system was designed to deal with bombers, but when it came into service, the bomber tactic changed. The Bombers operated in small units, making it more difficult to destroy.

Despite its shortcomings, the Berkut missile system for several decades was believed to protect the Soviet capital’s skies, even until the 1980s. It was not until 30 years after being built that Berkut was replaced from the payroll of the Soviet air defense forces.

To overcome the shortcomings of the missile system, Soviet engineers developed a mobile air defense missile system. Manufacturing work began in 1953. And the mobile S-75 air defense system was born, developed on the basis of the Berkut air defense system. The S-75 used V-750 missiles. In addition, a launch pad SM-63 and a transport vehicle PR-11 were developed. In 1957, the S-75 air defense system entered service.

The S-75 was born to ensure the mobility of the air defense system and to reduce production and maintenance costs. During the Cold War, the Soviet Union exported this air defense system to Algeria, Vietnam, Egypt, Iraq, Libya, Yugoslavia, Syria and many other countries.

Throughout its history, the S-75 air defense system has been involved in many conflicts, including the Vietnam War, the Arab-Israeli War and the Persian Gulf War. Arguably, the S-75 has proven to be a very powerful weapon.


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