9K31 Strela-1M

Would you like to see the Strela-1M in-game?
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Welcome to the suggestion for the 9K31 Strela-1M! This is a Soviet short-range, low-altitude surface to air missile carrier used by over a dozen countries equipped with a set of four 9M31M SAMs. A classic of the Cold War, the Strela-1M would be a decent addition between the ZSU-23-4M4 and its real life successor, the Strela-10M. While it would be decent against aircraft, one downside would be the vehicle’s lack of ammunition. I couldn’t quite find solid information on if extra missiles could fit in the hull, but I have found pictures with two spare missiles fitted on to the sides of the vehicle, for a total of 6 missiles. Let’s find out more about it!



ZSU-23-4s crossing the Northern Dvina River, circa 1970s

In the post-war period, the Soviet Union was one of the major countries to utilize self-propelled anti-aircraft guns, notably the ZSU-23-4. As the 1950s began to end, a number of countries continued focusing on missile development, especially surface-to-air missiles. By the end of the 1950s, Soviet Union had in service its S-25 ‘Berkut’ and S-75 ‘Dvina’ SAM systems, but these were stationary sites that had to be set up. Ideally, a mobile, lightweight SAM system was desired, one which could keep up with the Soviet Army’s motorized rifle and tank units to provide supplementary anti-air cover alongside the ZSU-23-4.

On August 25th, 1960, development of a new lightweight SAM system began under the name Strela-1, alongside a portable MANPADS named Strela-2. Development of the Strela-1 system was undertaken by KB Tochmash, the leading designer being Aleksandr Nudelman. The goal of the program was to create a vehicle capable of defending against air targets at an altitude of up to 1,500 meters at a range of 2 km and a speed of 900 km/h. Work on the seeker head was assigned to TsKB-589 under the supervision of Vladimir Khrustalev, but after the bureau changed its name to TsKB Geofizika, the lead designer role was handed to David Khorol. Compared to the Strela-2, the Strela-1 had a heavier warhead, a proximity fuse, and much better performance and maneuverability, albeit at the cost of increased drag.

After work on the missile itself had finished, it was time to put it on a vehicle chassis. The vehicle chosen for this was the BRDM-2 scout car, a small but light vehicle that would become a common vehicle in the Soviet Army and across the world in the future. This chassis would later be used for a number of missile carriers, and its light weight would enable it to keep up with mobile units of the Soviet Army.

Strela-1s in Moscow, November 7th, 1976.

Following state testing, the Strela-1 was accepted for service on April 25th, 1968. While it fulfilled the requirements, the team who conducted the trials noted that it could be improved, and in December 1970, an improved version of the Strela-1 was accepted for service, known as the Strela-1M. Compared to the original Strela-1, the Strela-1M had a slightly heavier warhead, a longer range, and a more accurate guidance system. The range on Strela-1M is debated, with some sources going as high as 8 km, but others giving lower figures, which is likely due to it being a relatively light missile still.

In its deployment, the Strela-1M platoon consisted of a command vehicle, a transporter erector launcher vehicle with a passive radar detection system, and around three other Strela-1Ms without radar. During its use with the originally intended motorized rifle and tank units, the Strela-1M was typically used as part of a short-range air defense battery, with two platoons, one of which was a ‘gun’ platoon with four ZSU-23-4s, and the other a SAM platoon with four Strela-1Ms.

The Strela-1 was widely exported, with over 30 users, with 11 still using it to this day, including Russia itself for naval infantry. Ultimately, the Strela-1 was replaced by the MTLB-based Strela-10, which used a larger and even more powerful missile. However, despite this, the Strela-1 is unlikely to be put away for good for some time, and will be remembered as one of the major mobile SAM systems of the Cold War.

Strela-10s in Moscow, May 9th, 1985.



  • Crew: 3
  • Length: 5.8 m
  • Width: 2.4 m
  • Height: 2.3 m (launcher folded down)
  • Mass: 7 tons
  • Main armament: 4× 9M31M
  • Ammunition stowed: ~2
  • Maximum speed: 100 km/h
  • Engine: 140 hp GAZ-41 V8





1 Like

Finally, a worthy replacement for the strela at 10.3 so it can finally go to 11.3


Yes! Other nations that operated this vehicle include Hungary (a much needed buff for Italian anti-air) and Poland (when, Gaijib??)

1 Like

+1, definitely would be a good addition to the Soviet tech tree.

A cute little fella! +1

Strela should be 9.3, just spawn a tank to kill it, you have a counter so use it bro

finally, a worthy opponent. our battle will be legendary.

And… Ya know… Germany

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Ka-52 should be 1.0, just spawn a biplane to kill it, you have a counter so use it bro

Oh yah I forgor

Yeah I agree! And while we’re at it the AV-8B+ is too weak for 12.3, let’s move it down to 6.0!

Spawn a tank to kill an SPAA on the other side of a map hiding in a spawn? This is satire right?

Not to mention you know just how powerful its photo contrast mode is right? Its practically unflareable to every extent…