Air defense / SAM systems / S-125 Pechora

S-125 Pechora

General Facts

  • TYPE
    SAM system


    SA-3 Goa (NATO reporting name for S-125)
    SA-N-1 Goa (NATO reporting name for Volna)
    M-1 Volna (naval version of S-125)
    Neva (Soviet service nickname)
    Pechora (export model nickname)
    ItO 79 (Finnish service)

    1956 - 1961

    Almaz Central Design Bureau

    1963 - present

    Russia - Almaz Antei
    USSR - Almaz Antei

    Well over 300 batteries


    Can engage low flying targets
    Effective against maneuverable targets
    Reasonable simple system
    Can only track and engage a single target at a time
    Cannot be used against missiles


The S-125 Pechora is a SAM system of Soviet origin. It was developed in the early 1960's to complement the older S-25 and S-75 systems. The S-125 has the nickname Neva in Soviet service and Pechora for export. Internationally it is well known under the NATO reporting name SA-3 Goa. Compared to the S-75 the range, speed and altitude are reduced but it is more capable of engaging low altitude and maneuverable targets. The S-125 was one of the principal Soviet air defense systems and large numbers have been produced.


The S-125 system uses large two stage solid propellant missiles that use radio command guidance. The second stage with its large rectangular wings acts as a booster and the first stage has a sustainer engine. A blast-fragmenation warhead with Doppler radar fuze is mounted in the nose. The missiles are launched from fixed two or four round launchers and are transported on 6x6 trucks. The launchers and various associated radar systems are road mobile, but emplacement and displacement time is significant.


A battery is normally deployed in a hand shaped patter with the four launchers making up the fingers, the thumb being the acquisition radar and the palm being the fire control radar. The SNR-125 (Low Blow) fire control radar that is unique to the S-125 system provides tracking and radio command guidance. The acquisition radar is usually a P-15, P-19 (Flat Face) or P-15M (Squat Eye) radar combined with a PRV-11 (Side Net) height finding radar.


The S-125 missiles are effective against supersonic fighter aircraft and subsonic targets such as transport and bomber aircraft. The original 5V24 missile has an effective range of 4 to 15 km and altitude envelope of 100 m to 10 km. The later 5V27 has a range of 4 to 25 km and altitude envelope of 100 m to 14 km. The S-125 is more resistant to ECM than the older S-75.


The main operator of the S-125 was the USSR which used it in large quantities throughout the entire Cold War. Large quantities have been exported to Warsaw Pact nations and various Soviet allies in Asia and the Middle East. Although the SA-3 is an effective system since the 1980's it has been supplemented with the more capable S-300P (SA-10 Grumble) systems. Many S-125 systems remain in service today and various upgrade programs exist.


S-125 system

A single S-125 battery consists of four launchers, one SNR-125 radar, eight PR-14 transporters, one acquisition radar and one height finding radar.

S-125 Neva: Original S-125 system with V-600 missiles. NATO reporting name SA-3A. Prototypes operational since 1961.
S-125M Neva-M: Improved S-125 system with newer V-601 missiles and reduced clutter SNR-125 radar. NATO reporting name SA-3B. Operational since 1964.
S-125M1 Neva-M1: S-125M improved with experience from the Middle East conflicts. Adds improved ECM resistance and TV tracking. Operational since 1978.
S-125 Pechora-M: Russian upgrage package for static S-125 units with improved radar, digital components, optical guidance, IFF and longer range missiles.
S-125 Pechora-2: Russian upgrade package with improved mobility and interception that is marketed since 1999. New two round launchers are mounted on a 6x6 KaMAZ truck. The much improved SNR-125 radar can track 16 targets and is mounted on a truck. The Pechora-2 has the ability to intercept cruise missiles and UAVs.
S-125-2T Pechora-2T: Belarussian upgrade package with solid state electronics, IFF system, new guidance system and ability to engage two targets at a time. The Pechora-2TM is a mobile version that has the launchers mounted on large 6x6 trucks for increased mobility.

S-125 missiles

V-600, 5V24: Original missile with 15 km range, 10 km altitude and 60 kg warhead. NATO reporting name SA-3a.
V-601, 5V27: Improved missile with 25 km range, 10 km altitude and 70 kg warhead. NATO reporting name SA-3b. Contains various subversions such as the V-601P, V-601PK, V-601G, etc. At least one version has reduced minimum range of 2.8 km versus original 4 km.
V-601D, 5V27D: Missile used with S-125M1 system. Has a heavier booster with reduced launch speed and higher terminal speed.

SNR-125 radar

The SNR-125 radar is unique to the S-125 system. It serves as a tracking and fire control radar. The SNR-125 system consists of the UNV trailer mounted radar assembly, UNK semi-trailer radar operator van and a generator van. The SNR-125 is a compound radar consisting of the UV-10 radar flanked on each side by two orthogonal mounted UV-11 radar receivers and an UV-12 missile uplink radar on top. Late model SNR-125 also feature a TV camera for optronic guidance out to 25 km.

S-125 launchers

The S-125 may use two types of launchers, a semi-mobile two round launcher or fixed position four round launcher. The launchers are reloaded by the PR-14 transporter trucks.

5P71: Semi-mobile twin round launcher with blast deflector. Rests on X-shaped pedestal which can be folded and fitted with wheels, allowing the launched to be towed by a 6x6 truck. It weighs 9.7 t in position and 12.7 t on the move.
5P73: Fixed position four round launcher with engine assembly mounted behind the missiles, whereas the engine assembly is mounted in front of the missiles on the 5P71. It weighs 11 t in position without missiles.

PR-14 transporters

The PR-14 transporters are used to transport the S-125 missiles and are equiped to load them onto the launchers. In case of emergency the missiles can be fired from the launch truck, although this provides a sub optimal launch angle and will probably damage the truck.

PR-14A: Original transporter based on the Zil-157 6x6 truck.
PR-14AM: Improved transported based on the Zil-131 6x6 truck.

M-1 Volna

M-1 Volna: Original ship mounted system with V-600 missiles. Uses Yatagan command and Parus radar director. Production index is 4K90 and NATO reporting name SA-N-1a Goa.
M-1M Volna-M: Improved Volna system with V-601 missiles and ZIF-102 launcher. Production index is 4K91 and NATO reporting name SA-N-1b Goa.
M-1P Volna-P: Improved Volna-M with optronic director, Yatagan-P control system and ZIF-101 launcher.
M-1N Volna-N: Improved Volna-P with increased capabilities against sea skimming targets.

ZIF-101: Two round launcher with 16 round magazine.
ZIF-102: Two round launcher with 32 round magazine.

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