The original missile used by the Buk system is the 9M38, which was subsequently replaced with the 9M317 in the Buk-M1-2 upgrade.
The 9K37 Buk was developed in accordance with the Resolution of the CPSU Central Committee and USSR Council of Ministers dated January 13, 1972, using two self-propelled mounts, the 9A38 and the 9A310.
The first Buk with the 9M38 missile became operational in 1978 associated with the Kub 3M9M3 missiles, this became known as the Kub-M4 system. However, the full configuration of Buk continued testing from November 1977 through 1979 and became operational in 1980. The system is known in the Russian Federation as the 9K37 Buk with the complete system, including the radar and support equipment.
A Buk regiment comprises four such batteries and a Regimental Target Acquisition Battery with two long-range early-warning search radars.
A Buk transporter erector launcher and radar vehicle is fitted with radar, digital computer, missile erector and launcher, friend or foe identification system. It is operated by a crew of four and carries four missiles.
Radar of the Buk TELAR vehicle searches for targets, tracks them and guides missiles on them. So if required each TELAR vehicle can operate autonomously. The radar detects aircraft flying at altitude over 3 km at a range of 65 to 77 km. Detection range is reduced to 32-41 km when aircraft fly at 30 to 100m above the ground. Low-flying aircraft are detected at a range of 21 to 35km.
When TELAR operates autonomously it takes about 24-27 seconds from target detection to missile launch. It can stop and launch its missiles in about 5 minutes from travelling. It also takes about 5 minutes to leave the firing position.
The Buk-M1 uses the GM-569 chassis designed and produced by JSC Metrowagonmash. The crew compartment provides protection from small arms fire as well as being sealed against NBC attack. The suspension either side consists of six dual roadwheels with the drive sprocket at the rear, idler at the front and four track-return rollers which support the inside of the double-pin track only.
The 9K37 SA-11 Gadfly can run at a maximum speed of 65 km/h on road and 45 km/h on cross-country, with a maximum range of 500 km.