Cookie Consent by Privacy Policies Generator

9K79 Tochka

NATO: SS-21 Scarab | INF: OTR-21


9K79-1 Tockha-U

Rear view of 9P129-1M launch vehicle of the 9K79-1 Tochka-U tactical missile system seen during an exercise in 2018.
Source: Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation - © CC BY 4.0

Soviet Union
Tactical missile system
Entered service
1976 for Tochka
1989 for Tochka-U
In service
1968 - 1975 (design project)
1973 - 1974 (Soviet state trials)
1986 - 1988 (Tochka-U state trials)
Soviet Union - KBM Kolomna
1975 - 1990's (or later?)
Soviet Union - VMZ (missiles)
Soviet Union - Barrikady (launch vehicle)
Number produced
Over 1.200 missiles produced
SS-21 Scarab (NATO reporting name)
9K79 (GRAU index for system)
9M79 (GRAU index for missile)
9P129 (GRAU index for launch vehicle)
Tochka (nickname)
Russian for "point"
OTR-21 (INF treaty name)



The 9K79 Tochka is a late Cold War era tactical missile system of Soviet origin. It was developed in the early 1970's as a more capable alternative to the 9K52 Luna-M (NATO: FROG-7) large unguided artillery rocket. Tochka is also known under the name OTR-21, which stands for Operativno-Takticheskii Raketnyi kompleks, which translates to "tactical operational missile complex".


The Tochka is a highly mobile system that launches short range ballistic missile that can be fitted with multiple types of warhead. The missiles use a solid propellant rocket motor, making them practically immediately ready to launch, unlike for instance the liquid fueled Elbrus (NATO: Scud) missile. Over time the rockets have been improved in range and accuracy. Inertial guidance is used. The 9P129 amphibious launch vehicle carries a single rocket within the vehicle. In the firing position the rocket is raised and launched from the vehicle.


The Tochka carries a single short range ballistic missile with good range and accuracy. The maximum range is 70 km for the original model and 120 km for improved Tochka-U. The warhead may be conventional high explosive, fragmentation, 100 kt nuclear, chemical or . The CEP was 150 m for early models and improved to 95 m and 70 m subsequently.


The launch vehicle and transloader are based on a wheeled amphibious vehicle with limited degree of all around armor protection. This resists small arms fire and shell splinters. The missile is covered in transit, increasing protection from shrapnel. These vehicles are also optimized for the nuclear battlefield with the ability drive and launch the missiles from within under NBC protection. Reloading does seem to require some manual activities. The main protection for the Tochka is that its range allows it to operate from behind friendly frontline troops.


Compared to the Luna-M that the Tochka replace the mobility is much improved. First and foremost it is based on a chassis that functions, unlike the complicated 8x8 chassis of the Luna-M. The lower center of gravity improves off road performance. A unique feature is that the Tochka has a substantial amphibious capability, being propelled in the water by water jet.


The Tochka was used by the USSR in brigades of 18 vehicles. It was exported to several Warsaw Pact nations and ended up in service with various successor states of the Soviet Union. The number of users has reduced but the Tochka remains in service. It has been employed in the Chechen wars and in the 2008 South Ossetia war. In Russian service it was fully replaced by the more capable 9K720 Iskander (NATO: SS-26 Stone). However, during the 2022 Ukraine war Russia re-introduced the Tochka from storage. Both Ukraine and Russia have actively used the Tochka in combat, sometimes with devastating effect.

System composition

9P129 launch vehicle

Six wheel launch vehicle based on the BAZ-5921 amphibious chassis. The launch vehicle has a single 9M79 missile ready to launch in a raiseable cradle. When on the move the missile compartment is covered by to two large cover plates.

9T218 transloader

Six wheel transloader based on the BAZ-5922 amphibious chassis. Two 9M79 missiles can be stored under cover. The SB-75 hydraulic crane is fitted to transfer a missile to the 9P129 launch vehicle. This reportedly takes about 19 minutes.

9M79 missile

Tactical ballistic missile produced in three major variants and comes with several warhead options. Described in further detail in separate table.

9T222 and 9T238 trailers

Specialized trailers for transportation of 9M79 missiles and warheads in the rear area. These twin axle trailers are used in conjunction with a ZiL-131V tractor truck.

9V819 and 9V844 support vehicles

Support equipment consists of several vehicles. The main types are the 9V819 (and 9V819-1) automated control and testing vehicle and the 9V844 (and 9V844M) maintenance vehicle. The 9V819 services the 9M79 missiles and warhead and the 9V844 supports the vehicles and various types of equipment. Both vehicle types are based on the ZiL-131 truck chassis with a K-131 box body, with the 9V844 also towing a generator trailer.

Vehicle details

Facts 9P129 9T218
Soviet Union
Tactical missile system
18.15 t combat load
9.486 m
2.89 m
2.375 m
Main armament
9M79 series short range ballistic missile
Single missile on launch rail
1 missile carried and ready to launch
78° at launch
15° left and 15° right
Emplacement time
16 to 20 minutes after halt
Reaction time
1.5 to 2 minutes when emplaced
Chassis type
Wheeled chassis, 6x6
Front and rear axle
Ground pressure
Adjustable by central tire pressure regulation
1.0 to 4.0 kg/cm²
Independent torsion bar with wishbone
2.3 m
Engine model
Barnaultransmash 5D20K-300
Engine type
15.9-liter four stroke liquid-cooled V6 diesel
Power output
300 hp at 2.600 rpm
5-speed manual
2-speed transfer case
60 km/h on paved road
40 km/h on dirt road
15 km/h off road
8 km/h afloat
650 km on road
Power to weight ratio
16.5 hp/t
Obstacle crossing
Ground clearance
0.36 m
0.5 m
1.2 m
60 %
Protection level
Very limited protection to small arms fire and shrapnel
NBC system
Smoke system
Night vision
Yes, passive IR for driver

Missile types

9M79 and 9M79-1 missiles

Line diagram of 9M79 (left) and 9M79-1 (right) short range ballistic missiles side by side.
Source: - © Copyright lies with original owner

List of Tochka missile variants

9M79 Tochka
First generation missile introduced with the 9K79 Tochka system in 1976. Used with unitary HE-fragmentation and nuclear warhead at first, with cluster added in 1980. Designated Scarab-A by NATO.
9M79M Tochka
The 9M79M is an improved production model with similar performance as the 9M79. The 9M79M was introduced in 1983 and adds ability to be used with the 9N64 nuclear warhead and 9N123F-R passive radar homing warhead. With the latter warhead it is sometimes referred to as Tochka-R. NATO designation remained Scarab-A.
9M79-1 Tochka-U
Longer range missile introduced with the 9K79-1 Tochka-U system. The rocket motor has a more powerful propellant and slightly increased fuel load. This increases the maximum range to 120 km. The main wings are moved a bit closer to the center. Accuracy is improved by with improved inertial navigation and new guidance computer. The Tochka-U missile can be used with at least six types of warhead. This missile is known by NATO as Scarab-B.

Missile details

Facts 9M79 Tochka 9M79-1 Tochka-U
Soviet Union
Short range ballistic missile
6.40 m in total
4.08 m missile section
2.32 m warhead section
0.65 m
1.44 m
2.000 kg combined
1.518 kg missile section with 926 kg engine with fuel
482 kg warhead section
9B64 gyroscopic with 9B65 fire computer
Inertial navigation system
9M79F with 9N123F HE-fragmentation warhead
9M79K with 9N123K cluster warhead
9M79B with 9N39 nuclear warhead
9M79B1 with 9N64 nuclear warhead
9M79R / 9M79FR with 9N123F-R passive radar homing warhead
9M79G with 9N123G chemical warhead
About 480 kg
20 m airburst of 9N123F unitary warhead
2.25 km dispersal for 9N123K cluster warhead
Engagement envelope
Solid propellant rocket motor
Over 900 m/s
70 km maximum
15 km minimum
Over 20 km maximum apogee
150 m CEP with 9N123F warhead

Warhead options

9N123K warhead section

Cut away instructional model of a 9N123K cluster warhead section displayed in a museum. This contains 50 9N24 high explosive fragmentation submunitions.
Source: Vitaly V. Kuzmin - © CC BY-SA 4.0

List of warhead types

Unitary high explosive fragmentation warhead. Introduced in 1976. Contains 162.5 kg of explosive and creates 14.500 fragments. The laser proximity fuse detonates the warhead 20 m above ground level for maximum effect.
Cluster warhead with 50 9N24 submunitions. Introduced in 1980. Each submunition contains 1.5 kg explosive and creates 316 fragments. The cassette opens at an altitude of 2.25 km and disperses the submunitions at an area of 7 hectares.
Nuclear warhead with AA-60 nuclear bomb with variable 10 to 100 kt yield. Introduced in the late 1970's, possibly as early as 1976.
Nuclear warhead with either AA-86 nuclear bomb with variable 5 to 50 kt yield or AA-92 bomb with 100 to 200 kT yield. The variant with AA-86 was introduced in 1981. The version with AA-92 was introduced around 1988 and is only used with Tochka-U.
Unitary high explosive fragmentation warhead with passive radar homing for use against radar installations. Comes in variant for pulsed and constant emission radar types. Target radar frequency is set before launch.
Chemical warhead with 65 containers for VX nerve agent. There is also a 9N123G2-1 variant with 65 containers for Soman nerve agent.


Related articles

9K52 Luna-M

The Tochka was a replacement for the Luna-M large artillery rocket. Tochka was a quantum leap improvement in range and accuracy. As such it is more effective in deep strike interdiction.

9K33 Osa

The 9K33 Osa (NATO: SA-8 Gecko) short range air defense system is based on the same BAZ 6x6 amphibious chassis.


The design of the Tochka missile was patterned after the V-611 surface to air missile. This has a similar length, diameter and main wing set up. Over time various changes were made, such as introducing the lattice tail control fins.