Came across this great post by Gervasius over on Yooper’s amazing Lets Play thread.
Mention “double-digit SAMs” to any combat aircraft driver and watch them sweat. Basically, everything from SA-10 upwards is really dangerous. Some can be evaded by flying high (SA-13, SA-14, SA-16, SA-18), flying low doesn’t work anymore.
Also, I’m using NATO designations because russian/ex-USSR designations are confusing, disgusting and fuck ’em. But we need to avoid everything with “S-300” in their name.
SA-2 Guideline (S-75 Dvina/Volkov complex using V-750 class missiles) – Radar guided old Vietnam-era SAMs, not a threat to anything we have with decent ECM. 50ish km range. Chinese HQ-2 is a copy with some improvements.
SA-3 Goa (S-125 Neva complex using V-600 missiles) – Radar guided with backup IR seeker, shorter range than SA-2, but improved everything else. Famous for shooting down F-117 in 1999. 35ish km range. Can be found on some ships and still in service in various nations.
SA-4 Ganef (2K11 Krug complex firing 9M8M1 and 9M8M2 missiles) – Radar guided with backup EO – bigger and nastier cousin of SA-2 on a more mobile tracked platform. 60ish km range.
SA-5 Gammon (S-200 Angara complex using 5V28 missiles) – radar guided – SA-4 that took a whole lot of steroids and went to crossfit, huge lumbering beast of a missile for shooting down bombers at high altitudes. For extra fun, it can shoot down some ballistic missiles and even carry a nuclear warhead. 300 km range. Can also be linked to S-300/S-400 command posts for cooperative engagement because fuck you, flying is for losers.
SA-6 Gainful (2k12 Kub system, firing Kub-M1/M2/M3 missiles) – radar guided – mobile medium-range SAM on tracked chassis, built to protect advancing soviet army units. Gave headaches to Israelis in 1973. 25ish km range.
SA-7 Grail (Strela-2) – infrared guided – shoulder-launched SAM. Easy to fly above it’s engagement ceiling (2000 meters or so). 4 km range. Used by fucking everyone everywhere.
SA-8 Gecko (9K33 Osa using 9M33 missiles) – radar guided – unlike all the previous SAMs, it carried missiles and radar on a single wheeled vehicle, 20 km range. Heavily upgraded and widely used.
SA-9 Gaskin (Strela-1) – infrared guided – bigger variant of SA-7 on a wheeled vehicle. Easy to fly above it.
SA-10 Grumble (S-300P using a whole lot of missile types) – radar guided – first really mean system, built as a successor to SA-2. Really bad news for everything flying near it. 70 km range. Navalised and used on Kirov and Moskva cruisers.
SA-11 Gadfly (Buk) – radar guided with IR backup – successor to SA-6, also has radar and missiles all on same vehicle like SA-8. Mobile and nasty. Shot down Malaysian 777 over Ukraine. 25 km range, can shoot at ballistic missiles.
SA-12 Gladiator/Giant (S-300V) – radar guided. Despite sharing a S-300 designation with SA-10, it’s a different system built by a different manufacturer. Mounted on a tracked chassis, built to replace SA-4. Will happily swat planes, helicopters, ballistic missiles and PGMs out of the sky at 75 km range.
SA-13 Gopher (9K35 Strela-10) – IR guided – successor to SA-9, a bit better in every way. 10 km range.
SA-14 Gremlin (9K34 Strela-3) – IR guided – upgraded SA-7. Like its older sibling, used everywhere.
SA-15 Gauntlet (Tor) – successor to SA-8 Gecko, built with specific purpose of shooting down PGMs and will do so. 12 km range on basic variants, 25 km upgraded.
SA-16 Gimlet (Igla) – IR guided – a bit bigger and meaner shoulder-launched SA-14. Shot down french Mirage 2000 over Bosnia in 1995 and a whole lot of russian aircraft in Chechenya. Plus some american and british jets over Iraq in 1991 and 2003 adventures.
SA-17 Grizzly (Buk-M) – radar guided with IR backup – upgraded SA-11. 30 km range, can fire on anti-radar missiles
SA-18 Grouse (Igla-M) – IR guided – upgraded SA-16.
SA-19 Grissom (2K22 Tunguska) – IR guided – mounted on a Tunguska vehicle together with a pair of 30mm cannons. Replacement for ZSU-23 Shilka. Can and will shoot down missiles and everything else at 10ish km.
SA-20 Gargoyle (S-300PMU) – radar guided. As if original SA-10 wasn’t bad enough, this is upgraded version of that. 125 km range. HQ-10 is a chinese copy.
SA-21 Growler (S-400) – radar guided – here we go. Our worst nighmare. S-300 but bigger, meaner and even more dangerous. Putting that thing down creates a no-fly zone for everything that’s not a F-22 or F-35, and even those are at risk. Can fire a variety of missiles from 40 km short-range ones to huge 40K6 bastards that can nail you from 400 km away.
SA-22 Greyhound (Pantsir-S1) – Tunguska (SA-19) but even more dangerous, can engage everything and will kill anything near it.
SA-23 Gladiator/Giant (S-300VM) – radar guided – upgraded S-300V. 200km range.
SA-24 Grinch and SA-25 – IR guided – another shoulder-launched SAM. Like everything else, upgraded versions of previous SAMs.
Hope this helps.