Russia is offering an export variant of the Buk-M3 air defense system called ‘Viking’ to China. The Buk-M3 surface-to-air missile system was recently accepted for service in the Russian Army. The weapon system is a follow-up of medium-range air defense missile systems (known as Buk-M2E – SA-17) is designed to protect troops and infrastructure facilities against modern and future air attack weapons amid jamming and counter-fire.
Compared to the Buk-M2E predecessor, the Viking’s firing range has increased by almost 1.5 times to 65 km. The system can engage six targets simultaneously (meaning half of the missiles carried on the Transporter Erector Launcher (TEL) can seek a different target simultaneously)relying on its active guidance. Using the more compact 9K317M interceptor and TEL configuration the missile capacity of a firing unit comprised of two launch vehicles – one carries the radar and six missiles in sealed canister-launchers. The second carry 12 missiles in two pods that can be directed to their targets from the other vehicle’s radar. That makes a total of 18 ready to launch missiles. According to the manufacturer, the system effectively engages aerial targets of all types, including aircraft, precision-guided weapons, cruise missiles, and tactical ballistic missiles, over the ground and sea.
The system uses radio-electronic and thermal guidance (operable in weather, day and night), the can be guided independently or under command guidance from the launcher, or operate the two methods simultaneously.