Sting in the tail

In the late 1960s, the Soviet Union began development of a new divisional air defence missile called Osa (Wasp). James Kinnear finds out more about it

A BAZ-5937 chassis during a military exhibition at the NII-21 proving grounds at Bronnitsy, near Moscow in 2003. ANDREY AKSENOV
A 9A33BM3 SPU vehicle in Ekaterinburg in May 2005 (VYACHESLAV BELOGRUD)

The surface to air missile (SAM) system, known in the Soviet Union as the 9K33 ‘Osa’ (Wasp) and as the SA-8 ‘Gecko’ by the US and NATO, was accepted for service in October 1971 and made its public debut on Moscow’s Red Square in November 1975.

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