Girish Mahajan (Editor)

9K52 Luna M

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Type  Artillery rocket
In service  1964 – present
Place of origin  Soviet Union
Weight  2.5-2.8 short tons
9K52 Luna-M
Wars  Soviet War in Afghanistan, Iran-Iraq War, Gulf War, Yugoslav Wars, Invasion of Iraq, Libyan Civil War
Variants  9M21B (nuclear) , 9M21F (HE) and 9M21G (chemical) , Laith-90

The 9K52 Luna-M (Russian: Луна; English: moon) is a Soviet short-range artillery rocket system. The 9M21 rockets are unguided and spin-stabilized. Its GRAU designation is 9K52, and its NATO reporting name is FROG-7. "FROG" is an acronym for "Free Rocket Over Ground".



The 9M21 rockets are mounted on a wheeled 9P113 transporter erector launcher (TEL) based on the ZIL-135 8x8 army truck. The TEL features a large hydraulic crane used for reloading rockets from 9T29 transporters (also ZIL-135 based). The 9M21 has a range up to 70 km and a CEP (circular error probable) between 500 m and 700 m. The road mobile rocket has a 550 kg warhead and is capable of delivering high explosive, nuclear, or chemical warheads.


Six of the initial version of the 9M21 were in Cuba during the missile crisis in October 1962. These missiles, which were ready to fire, had nuclear warheads installed. A further 70 warheads were stockpiled on the island.

The Luna was later extensively deployed throughout some Soviet satellite states. The rocket has been widely exported and is now in the possession of a large number of countries. After the war with Iran, Iraq modified its stock of 9M21s with a joint assistance programme with Egypt and Egyptian Army engineers, by extending their range to 90 km and fitting a submunition-carrying warhead. The rocket was renamed Laith-90.

In the course of the Yugoslav Wars, Serb forces launched FROG-7 rockets on a number of Croatian cities, like Zupanja, on 12 December 1992, or the capital Zagreb, on 11 September 1993, while the battle of Medak Pocket was still ongoing.

During the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the Headquarters of the 2nd Brigade, US 3rd Infantry Division, Tactical Operations Center (TOC) of U.S Col. David Perkins, was targeted and struck by either an Iraqi FROG-7 rocket or an Ababil-100 SSM missile, killing three soldiers and two embedded journalists. Another 14 soldiers were injured, and 22 vehicles destroyed or seriously damaged, most of them Humvees.

RAF jets targeted and destroyed FROG-7 launchers operated by Pro-Gaddafi forces south of Sirte in the 2011 Libyan civil war.


Nuclear-armed variant, fitted with a 500 kg (1,213-lb) warhead.
This variant is fitted with a 390 kg (860-lb) warhead.
Iraqi version with increased range (90 km) and submunition warhead.

Current operators

  •  Algeria -24 - acquired between 1964 and 1974, 15 systems supposed to be decommissioned by 2014.
  •  Afghanistan
  •  Belarus - Some (36 units of 9K52 and Tochka)
  •  Egypt - 24 launchers acquired between 1960 and 1969, most likely decommissioned
  •  Libya - 45
  •  North Korea - Some (24 units of 9K52 and 2K6 Luna)
  •  Russia - Some in storage
  •  Syria - 30
  •  Ukraine - 50
  •  Yemen - 12
  • Former operators

  •  Bulgaria
  •  Cuba
  •  Czechoslovakia
  •  East Germany
  •  Hungary
  •  Iraq
  •  Kuwait (Captured by Iraqi forces during the Gulf War)
  •  Lebanon
  •  Poland
  •  Romania
  •  South Yemen
  •  Soviet Union
  •  Yugoslavia
  • References

    9K52 Luna-M Wikipedia