The ZRK 9A35M2 "Strela-10M2" (Lit. Arrow; NATO codename: SA-13 Gopher) is one of the missile systems that composed the extensive air-defence layers of Soviet and Warsaw Pact ground forces. As the direct upgrade of the previous 9K31 Strela-1 systems, the Strela-10M2 systems were developed as a stop-gap before the new ZPRK 2S6 system could be developed by the 1970s; however, the system was not very reliable against jets of its era during field tests and was delayed to mid-1970s for deployment. The systems, which could be said as the close layer of the air-defense network for the army corps, are still being used by many ex-Soviet republics with upgrades introduced to the missile seeker for better counter-ECCM capabilities.
Introduced in Update "Apex Predators" as the Soviet's first SAM battery in-game, although the 9A35M2 launcher vehicle doesn't have divisional search vehicles (for example; MT-LBU with 9S80 search radar) nor command vehicles to search aerial targets; but hiding the vehicle and seek for opportunities to take down enemy jets or helicopters that gets too close is achievable. Be sure not to rush to the front as the vehicle has nothing but a PKM light machine gun to harass enemies or gun down exposed crews on very rare occasions.
Survivability and armour
The survivability of the 9A35M2 is lacking, which is to be expected of a small SPAA vehicle. However, it is not without some quirks that can sometimes keep a player alive.
The thickest armour on the vehicle is only 14 mm, the rest is 7 mm. This is barely enough to protect the crew from stray low-calibre MG fire and more distant shrapnel, and will not provide any protection against higher-calibre MGs, rocket and bomb explosions, or even the odd HE shell.
The interesting part of the 9A35M2 is its relatively uncluttered interior that can make hasty enemy shots ineffective. Two of the three crew members sit in the very front of the hull (commander and driver), with the third (gunner) towards the rear underneath the launcher assembly. The engine sits in the middle of the vehicle, with the rear section holding a few spare missiles. Therefore, when enemy fire strikes the middle of the vehicle (which many players instinctively aim for), it will often knock out the gunner and/or the turret assembly but leave the front two crew members, and sometimes even the engine, unscathed, allowing the 9A35M2 to get away.
- Rolled homogeneous armour (hull, turret, underbody)
- Armored Glass (gunner window)
|Front (Slope angle)
| 14 mm (54°) Top
7 mm (80°) Upper glacis
14 + 5 mm (37-67°) Lower glacis
| 7 + 7 mm (23°) Top
7 mm Bottom
|7 mm (5°)
| 7 mm
5 mm Engine vents
| 7 mm Turret front
30 mm (45°) Gunner window
- Suspension wheels are 10 mm thick, and tracks are 15 mm thick.
- The underbody is 7 mm thick, and a tiny attached track of 15 mm thick is placed on the roof.
- There is a 7 mm internal RHA screen separating the engine from the other compartments.
The 9A35M2 Strela-10M2's mobility is solidly average. The engine can propel the little vehicle at a decent speed but takes a while to do so, and is not happy when climbing hills. A not-often-used but still valuable feature is the 9A35M2's amphibious capability, allowing it to reach a few places and take some shorter routes that other vehicles cannot. In all, while the 9A35M2 will not win many races against other vehicles, it is still fast enough to do its job well.
|Max Speed (km/h)
|Engine power (horsepower)
|Power-to-weight ratio (hp/ton)
Modifications and economy
The 9M37M missile is a worthy analogue to the Stinger-type missiles found on Western IR SAM vehicles such as the Ozelot, Type 93, and LAV-AD. It has both Infrared homing and contrast-seeking guidance methods, which make it very formidable in all-aspect engagements. Furthermore, it has a brilliant overload of 20G, almost double any contemporary ground-based IR SAM system. Against highly manoeuvrable targets, these missiles are far easier to score hits with.
There are no missile upgrades available, the stock missile is the top missile. The proximity fuse and warhead weight are both sufficient for destroying or crippling any aerial target it connects with.
|Turret rotation speed (°/s)
|Reloading rate (seconds)
| Type of
| Fuse delay
| Fuse sensitivity
| Explosive mass
(TNT equivalent) (kg)
The 7.62 mm MG on the 9A35M2 is pretty much an afterthought, given that open-top vehicles are exceedingly rare at this BR. However, it is very handy to have around for clearing small fences or obstacles in front of the vehicle, something other IR SAM vehicles like the Type 93 and Ozelot cannot do. It is not recommended to use this as an offensive weapon against air targets given its limited firing arcs and the fact that the 9A35M2 already has very nice missiles for that exact purpose.
|7.62 mm PKMB
The 9A35M2 Strela-10M2 uses a single tracking radar with the absence of a search radar. Because the 9M37M is not a SACLOS or beam-riding missile, you won't have a chance to use the tracking radar most time. It will come in handy when you notice an enemy aircraft from far away yet it hasn't entered your effective firing range.
|9S86 - Target Tracking Radar
|__ m/s (__ km/h)
Usage in battles
As a powerful SPAA, the 9A35M2 Strela-10M2 has a very irritating weakness. Due to the lack of supporting vehicles of common Soviet AA batteries especially radar vehicles, players will have to rely on crew voices, the sound of rotor/jet or visual acquisition of enemy aircraft. As such, the best way to use the Strela-10M2 is as a short-range surprise weapon against enemy aircraft and helicopters. The missiles cannot reach as far as many of the radar missile-equipped SPAA vehicles you will often be playing alongside, but they have very good overload and do not give the enemy a radar warning. Engaging aircraft that are busy with other targets or just starting to exit the battlefield is the best way to engage, as distracted enemies are less likely to see the missile and dump flares.
The contrast-seeking mode of 9M37M allows the Strela-10M2 to successfully lock any helicopter from 4 to 5 km. Sometimes, even a scout UAV is no exception. This mode also has high resistance against flares and HIRSS. The 9M37M has good mobility and endurance, but the field of vision of its seeker is a bit limited. Some players will aim the further place of the target to save the energy of the missile. However, such a method is more likely to cause the missing target instead in this case. Although the Strela-10M2 can scout the enemy, it cannot also fight the ground threats. Avoid getting close to the frontline, and help the allies find the enemies if possible.
Pros and cons
- The missiles have a high overload factor, more than any other ground-launched IR missile
- Due to contrast-locking, the range is on par with Stingers
- Except for the launcher assembly, the rest of the vehicle is very low to the ground which allows it to easily hide behind rocks, bushes, or buildings
- Amphibious, can reach a few places other vehicles cannot
- More survivable than it seems due to crew placement and empty space in the rear of the vehicle
- No search radar. Detecting targets relies on manual spotting
- Engine suffers on inclines. Hills are not your friend
The ZRK 9A35M2 'Strela-10M2' was built to be the successor of the 9K31 'Strela-1' built on the BRDM-2 wheeled chassis, and can use the older missile from that platform if needed. Development of the new vehicle began on July 24th, 1969, with the decision being made to continue developing a new IR SAM system despite the 9K22 'Tunguska' also being developed at the same time, economical reasons often being cited as the main deciding factor to continue with both. The faster reaction time of the Strela missile system, as well as its immunity to radar jamming, were also highly desired by the Soviet Army's anti-aircraft forces.
Unlike the previous Strela system, being mounted on a lightly armoured amphibious car, the new vehicle would be mounted on the newer and more mobile MT-LB, an infantry transport vehicle from the late 1950s. This would provide far more room for equipment and extra ammunition, among other things.
The 9M37 missile went through testing from 1973 to 1974, but disappointing results forced a delay while the kinks were ironed out. Designers of the Strela system used this time to introduce improved equipment onto the MT-LB base vehicle, such as more modern radios and provisioning for easier connection to the Soviet integrated air defence system in use at the time.
The vehicle was first introduced in 1976 and has been in service ever since. Combat usage first occurred in 1988 during the Angolan Civil War, with the first large-scale use of the system being Operation Desert Storm, during which it is believed 27 coalition aircraft were hit by Iraqi missiles, with 14 of those being lost.
- Western counterparts
|USSR anti-aircraft vehicles
|GAZ-AAA (4M) · GAZ-AAA (DShK)
|BTR-152A · BTR-152D
|GAZ-MM (72-K) · ZiS-12 (94-KM) · ZiS-43
|ZSU-23-4 · ZSU-37-2
|Strela-10M2 · 2S6 · Pantsir-S1
|ZUT-37 · ZSU-37 · BTR-ZD · ZSU-57-2
|▂Phòng không T-34