Service SAM "Circle"
The Krug anti-aircraft missile systems of all modifications were armed with anti-aircraft missile brigades (air defense brigades) of army and front (district) subordination. Serial production of the Krug air defense system was carried out from 1964 to 1980. The release of anti-aircraft missiles continued until 1983. According to information published in open sources, a total of 52 anti-aircraft missile brigades were equipped with Krug complexes of all modifications. Some managed to rearm from the earlier options (“Circle” and “Circle-A” to more advanced “Circle-M / M1”). A number of sources also featured "Circle-M2." Apparently, this was the semi-official designation of the Krug-M1 air defense system with the latest modification of the 1C32M2 guidance station and the 3M8M3 anti-aircraft missile.
According to the recollections of the officers who served in the "circular" brigades, the early versions of the complexes during capital repairs were brought to the level of later modifications. When designing the guidance station, the modernization potential was initially laid and there was free space for installing additional electronic units. A more significant alteration was required by the antenna post and microwave equipment.
As new modifications of the complex were created, its operational and combat characteristics improved. Partial conversion to solid-state electronics was carried out, which positively affected reliability. Whereas at the Krug and Krug-A complexes there were difficulties in capturing low-flying targets with a small EPR, Krug-M / M1 could quite confidently deal with such difficult targets as cruise missiles. Taking into account the experience of operating the complexes of the first options on the SNR 1C32M2, several new modes were added, which increased the probability of hitting the target. Many times improved the ability to work in conditions of active electronic countermeasures. On the latest modifications of the SNR, a television optical sight was installed, which under favorable conditions made it possible to detect and track the target without using a radar channel. Based on the experience of fighting in Vietnam and the Middle East, protection against anti-radar missiles has been improved. The firing range increased to 55 km, and the near border of the affected area decreased from 7,5 to 4 km.
Although the Krug air defense system was originally created to cover troops in concentration centers, headquarters, large bridges, warehouses and other important objects in the frontline, air defense units and formations, deployed 200 km in the border zone, were involved in combat duty in peacetime . For this, a standby battery was assigned from the anti-aircraft missile battalion (SAM). In most cases, the duty was carried out not far from the place of permanent deployment at well-equipped engineering positions. At the same time, self-propelled launchers and guidance stations were in caponiers, and the command post was located in a concrete shelter buried in the ground.
As mentioned in the previous part of the review, an important advantage of the Krug air defense system was its high mobility and the ability of the battery to turn around and curl up in 5 minutes. This was his advantage not only over the S-75 (which, even chopping the cables, could not be completed in less than 20 minutes), but also over the American Improved Hawk MIM-23B air defense system. In the latter, the deployment / folding time was 45 and 30 minutes, respectively. Not least of all, this was achieved due to the ability to control the actions of the Krug air defense system on the radio link. Raising and cleaning up wireless antennas took a few seconds. The radio line was used to transmit digital information from SOTS 1C12 to SNR 1C32 and had a range of 4-5 km. The data line from SNR to SPU had a range of up to 500 m. However, when it was possible, cable communication lines were used to increase stealth.
In the late 1960s, the deployment of the Krug air defense missile system was worked out with the An-22 heavy military transport aircraft. For unhindered loading of self-propelled launchers into the cargo compartment, anti-aircraft missiles dismantled the upper tail stabilizers. The wings and stabilizers of the 3M8 SAM, located on the SPU, were also removed during storage in hangars (otherwise they would not fit into the gates) and on a march in a wooded area, when there was a risk of damage by tree branches.
Usually, SPU 2P24 was transported by air and ground without rockets, and additional marching mountings developed along marching. At the same time, the missiles were in transport containers or ready (assembled, tested, refueled) on TZM and transport vehicles of a transport platoon of technical batteries and TZM batteries.
Due to design features, the visual visibility of the Krug battery in the area was quite high. But in any case, it turned out to be significantly less than that of the S-75 medium-range air defense systems, which until the second half of the 1960s were also used in the air defense forces of the air forces.
Google Earth satellite image: position of Syrian air defense system S-75M3 in the vicinity of Latakia
It is impossible to effectively mask the standard position of the S-75 division. Of course, in order to increase the combat survivability, the control cabins were located in shelters, launchers were covered with camouflage nets, but the radial roads from the missile storage to the launchers were perfectly visible from the air.
For all Krug divisions, in their area of responsibility, reserve starting positions were provided with topographic reference and engineering training, and, if possible, false positions (mainly in defense).
During the fighting after the shelling of the target, the battery needed to immediately change the firing position. According to expert estimates, 3-4 missile launches from one launch position were guaranteed to lead to the destruction of the complex.
If necessary, individual infantry could be attached to motorized rifle or tank regiments and divisions and act autonomously, in isolation from the main forces of the zrbr. At the same time, target designation was carried out from the general notification network or from the nearest radio engineering unit and the air defense command post of the attached unit.
After the collapse of the USSR and the launch of the process of “optimization” and “reform” of the Russian armed forces, a landslide reduction of units and formations of air defense began. For the most part, this affected the country's air defense forces. So, in the second half of the 1990s, all first-generation air defense systems S-75 and S-125 were withdrawn from combat duty in Russia. But at the same time, the seemingly hopelessly outdated Krug was in service with the Russian army until 2006.
In the 3st century, it became very difficult to maintain the elements of the Krug air defense system that had developed a lot of their resources. The electronic components of the guidance station, built on an outdated element base, required constant close attention. But the main problem was missiles with expired lives. 8M1 SAM did not have fuel pumps, fuel from the tanks was supplied by supplying compressed air between the tank compartment wall and the rubber bag, and so, this rubber lost its elasticity after long-term storage and cracks appeared in it. Such "crying" missiles were not uncommon in training firing practice where old missiles were fired, the warranty period of which has expired. However, the replacement of rubber bags did not require sending to the factory and could be carried out by the technical battery or the district arsenal (missile storage base), this problem was not decisive for limiting the life of missiles. The main reasons for the loss of missile performance were: oxidation of the 300st stage fuel (isopropyl nitrate), loss of performance of the lamps and semiconductor elements of REO, metal fatigue and damage during operation. In this regard, the preserved complexes of the latest modifications for the most part were in “storage”. In many respects, the protracted service of the Krug is explained by the fact that it was not possible to replace the Krug air defense systems with the S-300V universal air defense systems in the same proportion in the front and army zBRs. The final version of the S-1988V was launched into serial production in 10, and it was possible to build a little (approximately 300 times less than the S-XNUMXP) before transferring the economy to “market rails” of this type of anti-aircraft systems.
SAM "Circle", despite the fairly widespread use in the Armed Forces of the USSR, delivered abroad very limited. Historically, buyers of Soviet air defense systems received mainly various modifications of the S-75 medium-range object system, and the closest allies under the Warsaw Treaty were foreign operators of the Krug air defense systems. In 1974, Krug-M received Czechoslovakia. From the second half of the 1970s, Krug-M1 complexes were delivered to Hungary, East Germany and Poland. Bulgaria received this option in 1981, after the completion of its mass production.
SPU 2P24 at the parade in the GDR
In Poland, Bulgaria and Czechoslovakia, a brigade structure similar to the Soviet one was used. To increase informational awareness, some airborne detachments were given additional radar means, and batteries of 23 mm anti-aircraft guns ZU-23 and platoons of the Strela-2M MANPADS protected them from air attack weapons that burst at a low altitude. In the German Democratic Republic and Hungary, the Krugs were consolidated into separate anti-aircraft missile regiments (ZRP), which had two rather than three anti-aircraft missile battalions (ZRD).
Czech SPU 2P24 during the demonstration of armored vehicles in the Military History Museum of Leshany
In the countries of Eastern Europe, where the Krug air defense system was supplied, their operation was mostly completed in the second half of the 1990s. Former Warsaw Pact allies in the face of declining international tension hastened to get rid of Soviet surplus weapons. The exception was Poland, where the Krug-M1 complexes served until 2010.
The last time the Polish calculations of the Krug-M1 air defense missile system was carried out by test firing in 2006. At the same time, the converted P-15M Termit anti-ship missiles were used as targets.
After the division of the Soviet military legacy, the Krug air defense missile system went to Azerbaijan, Armenia, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and Ukraine. In almost all independent republics, these complexes have already been decommissioned. It is reliably known that the Kazakh Krug division until 2014 covered the Ayaguz military airfield in the East Kazakhstan region. According to information published on the First Law Enforcement Website of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Krug air defense missile systems took part in the second stage of the exercises of the Combat Commonwealth air defense forces, which took place at the Saryshagan training ground in August 2017. It is possible that during these exercises with SPU 2P24, the Virage target missiles converted from 3M8 missiles were launched. Given the fact that Russia handed over several S-300PS divisions to Kazakhstan, the Krug air defense missile systems are likely to have been withdrawn from service in this republic.
Complexes "Circle" until recently played a significant role in providing air defense of Armenia and Azerbaijan. These countries received equipment and weapons from the 59th air defense missile system (Artik, Armenia) and the 117th air defense missile system (Khanlar, Azerbaijan). In the past, military experts drew attention to the fact that the number of Krug air defense systems in the armed forces of Armenia significantly exceeded the number originally available in the 59th brigade.
Google Earth satellite image: Krug position in the vicinity of Gavar, Armenia
Apparently, in the late 1990s, Armenia received additional anti-aircraft systems, removed from service in Russia. The Krug-M1 air defense missile systems were located in mountainous areas in the south-east of the country and in the vicinity of the settlement of Gavar, not far from Lake Sevan, and were on alert until 2014. Now S-300PS anti-aircraft systems are deployed on the part of the former "Krugovsky" positions. At present, the Krug air defense system in Armenia, most likely, has been transferred to the armed forces of the unrecognized Nagorno-Karabakh Republic.
Google Earth satellite image: Krug position in the vicinity of Agjabadi, Azerbaijan
Judging by satellite images, the last Krug-M1 division in Azerbaijan in the vicinity of the city of Agjabadi on a stationary position was on alert until 2013. However, at present, obsolete moral and physical systems are replaced by medium-range Buk-MB air defense systems received from Belarus.
Tests of the Krug Circle SAM in the USA
Although in the 1990s, the Krug air defense system was already considered obsolete, the Americans took it very seriously and did not miss the opportunity to learn more about the real capabilities of this complex. For this, from an unnamed eastern European country to the test site of the Eglin training ground in Florida, the following were delivered: SOC 1C12, SNR 1C32 and SPU 2P24 with 3M8 missiles.
Google Earth satellite image: SPU 2P24 among other military equipment at the storage site of Eglin air base
It is not known whether 3M8 anti-aircraft missiles are actually being launched in the United States on air targets, but it can be stated with certainty that American experts thoroughly tested the capabilities of the Krugov radars to detect and track US and Navy combat aircraft under various conditions, and also worked out the methods of radar suppression. Until the mid-2000s, elements of the Krug air defense system were used to designate an adversary during military exercises conducted at a training ground in the vicinity of Eglin airbase. Subsequently, special multi-mode radar simulators appeared on the American training grounds, reproducing the radiation from Soviet and Russian-made air defense guidance systems. Considering that the Krug air defense system was withdrawn from service in Russia in 2006 and, until recently, was operated in a number of CSTO states, these measures can be considered quite justified.
Combat use of the Krug Circle
Due to the fact that abroad, the Krug-M / M1 air defense systems were available only in Eastern European countries, which, after the fall of the Iron Curtain, became US allies, unlike the widespread S-75, the military Krug did not have a chance to demonstrate their combat characteristics in operations in Southeast Asia and the Middle East. The allegations that the Krug air defense system was used during the Vietnam War and in the Arab-Israeli wars are untrue.
Nevertheless, in one conflict the “Circle” participated or at least was present in the combat zone. We are talking about the war in Nagorno-Karabakh (Artsakh) in 1991-1994. If at the first stage of the conflict the military operations in the air were episodic, and the departure of several airplanes and helicopters was quite rare, then from about mid-1992 the situation changed dramatically. After the division of Soviet military property, Azerbaijan received several dozen combat aircraft, and Armenia received air defense equipment. More specifically, Azerbaijan also got the radar and air defense systems, but this did not matter much, since its combat aviation then the Armenians did not actually have.
Since the second half of 1992, the S-75M3, S-125M1 air defense systems, as well as the Krug-M1, Kub-M3, Osa-AKM, Strela-10 and Strela-1 mobile defense systems, were operated by the Armenian Air Defense Forces. Arrow XNUMX ". Since the Lachin corridor between Armenia and Artsakh at that time was already controlled by the Armenian armed forces, a significant part of these air defense systems appeared on the territory of the unrecognized republic.
It is difficult to talk about the exact quantitative composition. For example, some sources write about 20 divisions of the Krug air defense missile system that were in the armed forces of Armenia in 2001. But, most likely, this number is greatly overestimated, and we can talk not about divisions and not even about batteries, but about the total number of self-propelled launchers. A common mistake of technically illiterate journalists is to count SAMs by the number of launchers.
After modern air defense systems appeared on the territory of NKR at that time, and the hostilities took on a wide scope, the losses of Azerbaijani aviation increased sharply. Of course, there are no accurate statistics of losses to this day. In the most optimistic version, the air defense forces of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic announced 28 downed planes (including 10 MiG-25 and 7 Su-25) and 19 helicopters. Now the numbers have changed a bit: the Armenian side writes about about 20 planes and the same number of helicopters, and the Azerbaijani side recognizes the loss of 11 aircraft. There are also differences in the types of downed aircraft. The Armenian side mentions only the Su-17, Su-24, Su-25 and MiG-25, and the Azerbaijani side notes that some of the downed “dryers” were actually training “sparks” of the L-29 and L-39, on whipped up converted into light attack aircraft. In most cases, it is not indicated how this aircraft was shot down. For about 25-30% of cases, it is said that they were shot down using MANPADS, MZA or small arms, but no information is given on the use of "large" SAMs. According to the data of the Armenian military expert Artsrun Hovhannisyan, possibly incomplete, the Krug air defense missile systems were shot down by 3 or 4 aircraft:
October 11, 1992 - Su-17 in the Stepanakert area.
January 12, 1994 - Su-24 or Su-25 in the area of Hadrut-Fizuli.
March 17, 1994 - Iranian S-130 was shot down by mistake, the crew of which plotted a flight course over the combat zone. In a number of sources, the downing of this aircraft is attributed to the Osa-AKM air defense system. But it is known that the “Osa” SOC has problems finding targets at an altitude of more than 5000 m. It is also possible that the Iranian “Hercules” was shot down not by the “Circle”, but by the S-125.
April 23, 1994 - MiG-25RB in the area of Goris - Lachin - Fizuli. A group of 7 Mig-25RB conducted a stellar raid from different heights and directions, with the upper speed being 650-700 m / s.
Self-propelled launcher 2P24 and ZU-23 at a position in Nagorno-Karabakh
According to other evidence, the active operations of the Azerbaijani aviation ceased after several Krug-M1 batteries were placed in the conflict zone. In the near future, one cannot count on reliable data on the use of the Krug air defense system on the territory of the NKR, but if these systems stopped the air bombing only by the fact of their presence, then this is already a very good result. As you know, the main task of the air defense forces is not to destroy enemy air attack weapons, but to prevent damage to covered objects.
Google Earth satellite image: Krug position in Nagorno-Karabakh
Judging by the satellite images that are freely available, several Krug air defense batteries carried combat duty in 2019 in Nagorno-Karabakh.
Google Earth satellite image: Krug position in the vicinity of Shushikend village
Stationary positions are quite easily identified, two batteries were found. Perhaps a certain amount of SPU and CHP is stored in closed hangars.
Possible influence of the Krug air defense system on the course of local conflicts
In various militaryhistorical forums, one can often find discussion, for example, of how NATO's campaign against Yugoslavia would develop in 1999 if the latter had been included in its own air defense forces of the S-300P air defense system. We, in turn, will try to simulate the use of the Krug air defense system in the conflicts of the late 1960s - early 1990s.
As you know, during the years of the Cold War, the Soviet Union was actively preparing for a global hot war, and therefore some types of equipment and weapons were either not delivered abroad at all, or delivered in export versions with “trimmed” characteristics. Foreign customers, as a rule, received Soviet weapons on credit, and sometimes for nothing, therefore they put up with this state of affairs.
As mentioned earlier, Krug-M / M1 was received only by the closest allies under the Warsaw Pact. Moreover, this happened shortly before the cessation of mass production of the main elements of the complex. This was due to both the desire to keep the characteristics of the military "Circle" secret from a potential enemy, as well as to the high complexity of the SNR 1C32. Let me quote a person who is familiar with the "Circle" firsthand:
Each zambombat — the head of the station — was selected carefully and carefully, on the basis of the conclusions and characteristics of the direct commanders and the brigade commission, there was nothing to do with this technique on the basis of “blat”. Each head of the station (at one time he was) was proud of his machine, considered it a living creature and talked to her during hours of constant communication with her. Each station had its own "character", two were not the same. By work and behavior, the station “responded” to the treatment with it, there were really cases when it “pulled” with all its strength, as if it was impossible, or “kicked” with all the normal indications, and when it showed reproach, it suddenly started ideally work. Always, without exception, the SNR “checks” the new boss, for example, I spent the first year spending days in it, the soldiers carried food to the park, slept there. Only when she begins to trust and feel love and respect for herself, then she will give all her considerable strength and fully reveal, sometimes leading to confusion and bewilderment. The complex is good with proper operation and timely maintenance, very reliable and hardy, had great potential, capabilities and until recently was relevant. I l / s constantly insisted that the machine should always feel the warmth of human hands, not feel abandoned and forgotten, then it will repay in full and in the most difficult and critical time will not fail.
It is clear that it would be extremely difficult for foreign operators to maintain the station in good condition, and this would have been done by Soviet specialists. Without proper maintenance and tuning, the CHP would soon be inoperative. In addition, the production capacities involved in the construction of the most complex elements of the complex were quite limited. In other words, there were few. As a result, the most massive and most warring Soviet air defense systems abroad were “seventy-five” of various modifications. Despite the low mobility, the impossibility of effectively masking the typical position and the difficulty in operating anti-aircraft missiles fueled with fuel and a caustic oxidizer, the S-75 family complexes have long been the basis of the ground component of the air defense system in many countries.
But still, we take a short excursion into alternative history and imagine that the “Circle” participated in the same local conflicts as the S-75. Of course, speaking of air defense systems, we take into account the presence of modern automated control systems at that time. In reality, as you know, the USSR supplied ACS even more sparingly than SAM and radar. For example, Vietnam received only 2 ASURK-1ME, and even then not earlier than 1982. Therefore, there were cases when one American UAV AQM-34 Firebee fired simultaneously 8 SA-75M divisions.
Most likely, in Vietnam in the mid-1960s or in the Six-Day War of 1967, the still-raw and unfinished, difficult to operate "Circle" would hardly have achieved great success. Except that his losses compared with the S-75 were less. Perhaps the complex, by the very fact of its existence, would act on the enemy, forcing them to allocate an additional outfit of forces and means to counter it. To find out the position of the Krug air defense system and, if possible, circumvent it would be more difficult than in the case of the S-75. But what could be predicted with a great deal of certainty is that, after being sent to Vietnam through the territory of the PRC, the Chinese revisionists would have got an air defense system that was surprisingly reminiscent of the Soviet complex. And if the “Circle” had been delivered to Egypt or Syria before 1967, the Israeli aviation museum at the Khatserim air base near the city of Be'er Sheva would surely have been replenished with another exhibit.
“Circle-A” in the late 1960s in Vietnam could achieve some better results, although only one parameter has fundamentally changed - the minimum height of the lesion. But by the time of the operation Linebacker-II, that is, in December 1972, in Vietnam could have appeared "Circle-M" - a much more complete and had TOV. Of course, in an alternative history, the S-75M2 could also have fought in Vietnam at that time, especially since Soviet advisers from the late 1960s urged to send modern modifications of the “seventy-five” and “hundred and twenty-five”. Of course, given the mass deployment of the S-75M2 air defense system with its longer-range and maneuverable B-759 missile and anti-jamming modes, during the Linebacker-II operation they could inflict much more serious losses to the USAF than the existing SA-75Ms, but would be a more complex goal, but a number of fundamental shortcomings of the complex still remained. Perhaps, to suppress the S-75M2, the Americans would have to spend a few extra days and lose even more “Stratospheric fortresses”.
Under the same conditions, it would be incomparably more difficult to beat Kroogi, especially since the Vietnamese air defenses, unlike their Arab counterparts, did not neglect disguise or relocation. The additional advantage of Kruga-M over the S-75M2 at that time was the presence of TOV, but it didn’t have significant significance for Linebacker - for the entire time of the operation it was only 20 hours of good weather, and the B-52 was generally bombed only at night. By the way, it was on the S-75 that the television sight was delivered much later than on other complexes: only in the second half of the 1970s on the S-75M3K and S-75M4 modifications. Prior to this, the export CA-75M supplied to the DRV since 1969 used the so-called doghouse - a small cabin located above the horizontal scanning antenna SNP-75. There were two operators with simple optics in it, who turned the station in the direction of the target without turning on the radio emission and theoretically could accompany the target in angular coordinates. However, due to the low tracking accuracy, short detection range, and other reasons, the doghouse was practically not used for its intended purpose. Not to mention the fact that in the summer the temperature in the booth reached 80 ° C, so even hardy Vietnamese could not stay in it for a long time.
Nevertheless, the presence of TOV and interference-free operation modes of the station potentially increased the number of downed American tactical, carrier-based and strategic aircraft. Combined with the factor of new weapons, all these advantages could significantly increase the losses for the Americans and make it difficult for them to carry out the operation. It is unlikely that it would be torn off, only the Soviet air defense system was capable of that in those years. But in any case, the Vietnamese would say thank you very much for Kroogi.
It is difficult to say how the Krug-A air defense system would have shown themselves during the war of attrition 1969-1970. in the Middle East. Of course, the conditions there were somewhat different from the Vietnamese. Rainy weather is limited to 3-4 winter months, military operations in the air were conducted almost exclusively during the day, and the level of interference, according to Soviet advisers, was lower than in Vietnam - from low to medium intensity. At the same time, Israeli aviation very actively used small and extremely small heights, missile defense maneuvers, the latter being somewhat different from the actions of demonstration groups used in Vietnam. I think that the Krug-A divisions in those conditions would have suffered less losses than the S-75, but they would not have achieved much success either.
Next up is the Middle East, the 1973 war. As you know, in reality, this war was a triumph for the military air defense system "Cube" and a virtual failure for the object S-75. And we are talking about both the obsolete SA-75M "Dvina" and the more modern S-75 "Desna". According to the article “Actions of Soviet-made air defense systems during the Doomsday War” published on guns.pvo.ru, the Kub air defense system was shot down by 28 Israeli aircraft, and SA-2 (as it is in the text) - only 2. Of course, a significant share success "Cube" is due to the factor of surprise. To illuminate a semi-active GOS missile, a 3 cm range radar was used. At that time, neither the United States nor Israel had any means of jamming in this frequency range. In the future, after the creation and adoption of the “Cube” container-type EW suspension stations in the USA, it no longer achieved such successes.
It can be assumed that the Krug-M air defense missile systems could be used quite efficiently, especially if this were their first use. First of all, due to the use of TOV and anti-interference modes. Perhaps, thanks to the "Circles" it would be possible to increase the width of the air defense umbrella. As you know, it was the presence of this umbrella that enabled the Egyptians to successfully force the Suez Canal, and vice versa, its absence condemned the attempts to further advance deep into the Sinai.
In real history, in 1982, in the Bekaa Valley, the Syrian air defense system suffered a crushing defeat. There were plenty of reasons, both objective and subjective. For Israel, this was a war of a different level - with the use of 4th generation aviation, AWACS, massive use of electronic warfare, precision weapons, UAVs - in general, almost all the attributes of modern warfare. In the circumstances then prevailing, Syria did not have a chance, especially since the weapons that were in fact the same as in 1973 were not used very rationally. If the personnel do not equip spare and false positions, neglect camouflage, and do not observe the discipline of shooting, then the most modern weapons will not help. At the same time, all responsibility cannot be blamed solely on the Syrians themselves, Soviet advisers also made a number of serious mistakes. The Soviet Union simply did not know about some Israeli weapons systems, for example, about the false targets of Samson and small reconnaissance UAVs that transmit real-time information. In such conditions, the Krug-M air defense system, with the Polyana ASU, could hardly have changed the situation. At that time, the “Circle” in the Soviet Army was no longer the last word of science and technology. Some brigades have already begun to switch to Buk air defense systems and tests of the S-300B1 air defense systems were completed. It is possible that if in the Syrian air defense group "Fed" the S-75 air defense system had timely replaced Krug-M, then the operation "Artsav-19" would have taken more time and Israeli aircraft would have suffered losses, but nothing more.
During the Iran-Iraq War, Kroogi, of course, could be used quite effectively - the enemy allowed it. Iranian F-4s and F-5s flew mainly during the day and mainly used unguided aircraft weapons. The interference environment was also not too complicated. However, since about 1984, almost all the activities of the Iranian Air Force have been limited to air defense of strategic facilities, and there were no more forces and means left to support ground forces.
During the Desert Storm of 1991, the technological gap between the warring parties was even greater than in 1982 between Syria and Israel. Moreover, contrary to popular belief, Iraq was not a privileged client of the Soviet Union, and Iraq's air defense equipment was even less advanced than the Syrian one of the same period. Perhaps the only opportunity for the Iraqis would be to use ambush tactics at a time when, having defeated the country's centralized air defense system, the Allied aircraft went on the hunt for individual ground targets, for example, the Scuds. For NATO aviation, this was the last conflict where most of the sorties used conventional daytime bombs.
Thus, it can be argued that the Krug air defense system in local conflicts during the Cold War could not have a decisive influence on the course of hostilities, and its export deliveries to Third World countries would damage the defense capability of the USSR.
The authors are grateful to the user seacap (Alexey) for the expert assistance in writing this material.