The 9K720 Iskander-M Theatre Ballistic Missile System

 

The Iskander-M (also known as the SS-26 Stone) was developed in 1996 to replace the SS-23 “Oka”, a long range theatre ballistic missile system that was eliminated by the INF treaty. The Iskander-M entered service with the Russian army in 2006. The Iskander-M system consists of the TEL vehicle, a BAZ-6909 8-wheeled truck, and two 9M723K1 guided missiles. The missiles are controlled up to the point in which they hit the target, and can be re-targeted while in flight. The optically guided warhead of the missiles can be controlled via ERT (encrypted radio transmission) from a UAV or an AWACS. The 9M723K1′s integrated computer is updated with the target’s images, and the missile then locks on the target and engages it at supersonic speeds.

The 9M723K1 missile performs evasive maneuvers while flying towards its target and releases decoys, making it nearly impossible to intercept. The  warhead of each missile has a weight of 800 kg, the missiles have a range of 400-480 km, and fly at a speed of Mach 6-7 (2,100-2,600 meters per second). The missiles are capable of pulling 20-30 G maneuvers in order evade intercepting missiles. The Iskander-M can be used to engaged various type of targets, both large and small, stationary and moving, troops and vehicles, command posts, anti-aircraft and anti-missile defense systems, and more. A cruise missile for the system, the Iskander-K, was introduced in 2007, and is rumored to have a range of over 2,000 km.

According to Russian officials, the Iskander-M was used during the 2008 war between Russia and Georgia, where it was reported to have destroyed over 28 tanks. Amid the disagreements between Russia and the US over the proposed NATO missile shield in Europe, Russia has threatened numerous times to field the system in Kaliningrad. Currently, Iskander-M systems are deployed in every Russian defense district, excluding Kaliningrad. Russia operates 24 units in total, and Belarus and Iran have expressed interest in purchasing the system, as well.

 

Photos taken from here.