The BUK M2 is the upgraded version of the well known BUK M1 mobile surface-to-air missile system. The original BUK system was developed in 1972, and has been constantly upgraded since. A Naval version had also been developed, dubbed the 3S90 Uragan. In 1983, an upgraded version called the BUK M1 (SA-17) was introduced. The BUK M1-2 was accepted into service in 1998 and carried a new missile which had improved performance over the missile used by the BUK and BUK M1. The new missile could intercept cruise missiles, ballistic missiles, and ground targets, and had enhanced performance against aircraft. The even more advanced BUK M2 project was stalled due to the poor economic conditions in the 90’s, and was not to be seen or heard about until a completed model was displayed at the MAKS-2007 airshow. The unit shown in the photos is Russia’s first and last BUK M2 unit; all newer units will be composed of the even more advanced BUK M3.
A BUK unit consists of six launch vehicles, three reload vehicles, a target acquisition radar (which carries the 9S18M1 “Snow Drift” with an engagement range of 85 km and can engage low flying targets at shorter range), and a mobile command center (which can communicate with six launch vehicles at once. The battery can be battle readied in around 5 minutes and it can launch a missile missile at a target 22 seconds after identifying it on radar. The BUK M1-2 and BUK M-2 both use the GM-569 chassis. The launch vehicle has a turret with launchers for up to four missiles, as well as the “Fire Dome” fire control radar which can acquire up to six targets at once and launch up to three missiles against a single target. The reload vehicle also carries four missiles, but has a reloading crane instead of the radar. The BUK M2 carries the 9M38 medium range surface-to-air missile. The 9M38 has a speed of Mach-4 and is much more resistant to jamming/ECM (Electronic Counter Measures. The BUK M2 can acquire targets at a range of up to 50 km, and at an altitude of up to 25 km. Each BUK M2 launch vehicle has a crew of three and has full NBC protection. The reload vehicle can transfer missiles to the launch vehicle in 13 minutes, and can even launch the missiles itself with the aid of a launcher vehicle’s “Fire Dome” radar.