OTR-21 Tochka


OTR-21 Tochka
SS-21 Scarab
Tochka-U rep parad Yekat.jpg
Missiles systems Tochka-U at a Russian Federation rehearsal for the parade in Yekaterinburg
TypeTactical ballistic missile
Place of originSoviet Union
Service history
In service1976–present (Scarab A)
1989–present (Scarab B)
1990–present (Scarab C)
Used bySee Operators
WarsYemeni Civil War (1994)
First Chechen War
Second Chechen War
Syrian Civil War
War in Donbass
Yemeni Civil War (2015–present)
Saudi Arabian-led intervention in Yemen
2020 Nagorno-Karabakh conflict
Production history
ManufacturerKBM (Kolomna)
Mass2,000 kg (4,400 lb) Scarab A
2,010 kg (4,430 lb) Scarab B
1,800 kg (4,000 lb) Scarab C
Length6.4 m (21 ft)
Diameter0.65 m (2 ft 2 in)
WarheadChemical, 100 kt nuclear warhead, EMP, or fragmentation filling

EngineSingle-stage Solid-fuel rocket
70 km (43 mi) Scarab A
120 km (75 mi) Scarab B
185 km (115 mi) Scarab C
Maximum speed 1.8 km/s (1.1 mi/s; Mach 5.3)
Inertial guidance, Tochka-R added passive radar against radar installations
Accuracy150 m (Scarab A)
BAZ-5921 Mobile TEL

OTR-21 Tochka (Russian: оперативно-тактический ракетный комплекс (ОТР) «Точка» ("point"); English: Tactical Operational Missile Complex "Tochka") is a Soviet tactical ballistic missile. Its GRAU designation is 9K79; its NATO reporting name is SS-21 Scarab. It is transported in a 9P129 vehicle and raised prior to launch. It uses an inertial guidance system.

The OTR-21 forward deployment to East Germany began in 1981, replacing the earlier Luna-M series of unguided artillery rockets.


The OTR-21 is a mobile missile launch system, designed to be deployed along with other land combat units on the battlefield. While the 9K52 Luna-M is large and relatively inaccurate, the OTR-21 is much smaller. The missile itself can be used for precise strikes on enemy tactical targets, such as control posts, bridges, storage facilities, troop concentrations and airfields. The fragmentation warhead can be replaced with a nuclear, biological or chemical warhead. The solid propellant makes the missile easy to maintain and deploy.

OTR-21 units are usually managed in a brigade structure. There are 18 launchers in a brigade; each launcher is provided with 2 or 3 missiles. The vehicle is completely amphibious, with a maximum road speed of 60 km/h (37 mph) and 8 km/h (5.0 mph) in water. It is NBC-protected. The system has been in development since 1968. Three variants were developed.

Scarab A

The initial Scarab A entered service with the Soviet Army in 1975. It carries one of three types of warhead:

  • 482 kg (1,063 lb) of conventional HE
  • fragmentation (lethal radius more than 200 m (660 ft)
  • nuclear

The minimal range is about 15 km (9.3 mi), maximum range is 70 km (43 mi); its circular error probable (CEP) is estimated to be about 150 m (490 ft).

9M79K missile for 9K79 Tochka missile system

Scarab B

The improved Scarab B (Tochka-U) passed state tests from 1986 to 1988 and introduced in 1989. Improved propellant increased the range to 120 km (75 mi). CEP significantly improved, to less than 95 m (312 ft).

Scarab C

A third variant, Scarab C, was developed in the 1990s. Again, range increased (185 km (115 mi)), and CEP decreased to less than 70 m (229 ft). Scarab C weighs 1,800 kg (4,000 lb).


  • 9M79 missiles with various types of warheads (-9M79-1 for Tochika U Complex).
  • Launcher 9P129 or 9P129-1M (SPU);
  • Transport and loading machine 9T218 or 9T128-1 (TZM);
  • Transport vehicle 9T222 or 9T238 (TM);
  • Automatic testing machine 9V819 or 9V819-1 (AKIM);
  • Technical service vehicle 9V844 or 9V844M (MTO).
  • Set of weapon equipment 9F370-1 (KAO);

Educational means

  • Simulator 9F625M;
  • Missile overall weight model (such as 9M79K-GVM).
  • 9M79-UT training missile and 9N123F (K) -UT, 9N39-UT warhead. 9H123F-R UT;
  • 9M79-RM missile and 9N123K-RM missile split training model.

Use in combat

Syrian Civil War (2011-present)

  • In early December 2014, the Syrian Army fired at least one Tochka against Syrian rebels during the Siege of Wadi al-Deif (near Maarat al-Numan, in Idlib province) .[7]
  • On 26 April 2016 the Syrian Army fired a Tochka at Syrian rebels in the Syrian Civil Defense Center in west Aleppo[8]
  • On 14 June 2016 the Syrian Army fired a Tochka at Syrian rebel groups Al-Rahman Legion and Jaysh Al-Fustat in Eastern Ghouta, killing several fighters.[9]
  • On 20 March 2018 the Syrian Army fired a Tochka towards the Turkish Hatay province, which fell in the border district of Yayladağı without causing any casualties or damage.[10][11]
  • On 23 July 2018 Syrian Army fired two Tochka missiles near the Israeli border. Initially thought to be inbound to Israel near the Sea of Galilee, two David's Sling interceptors were fired by Israel. A few moments later it became clear they were going to strike within Syria, as such one interceptor was detonated over Israel while the other one fell inside Syria.[12] One Tochka missile landed 1 kilometer inside Syria.[13]
  • On 5 March 2021 Syrian Arab Army reportedly fired a KN-02 Toksa solid fuelled short ranged missile against a major oil facility in the country’s Idlib governorate, which is currently under the control of Turkish-backed insurgents.[14][15] The strike near oil facilities ignited major blazes and killed one and wounded 11 people.[15]

Yemeni Civil War (2014-present)

2020 Nagorno-Karabakh War

  • Azerbaijan claimed Armenia fired Tochka-U rockets at its territory during the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Armenia denied this, stating that Azerbaijan is making "disinformation to justify the use of a similar system or a system of a higher caliber."[27]


Map of OTR-21 operators in blue with former operators in red
Armenian OTR-21 during the Independence Day parade in Yerevan, 2016
Ukrainian OTR-21 Tochka missiles during the Independence Day parade in Kyiv, 2008

Current operators

At least 4 Tochka launchers
3 Tochka launchers with 4 missiles
unknown number
 North Korea
unknown number of variant Hwasong-11
220 launchers.[30] Missile systems have been upgraded since 2004 (replacing the onboard automated control systems)[31][32] and are scheduled to be replaced by the 9K720 Iskander missiles[33][34] by 2020.[35]
North-Korea supplied,[14] unknown numbers
large numbers

Former operators

Passed on to successor states.
 Czech Republic
Inherited from Czechoslovakia, retired.
 East Germany
Passed on to Germany.
4[37] retired in 2005, because of lack of rockets and service parts

 North Yemen: North Yemen Ordered a number of scarab missiles and launchers and used them during the 1994 civil war and were passed on to unified Yemen after. Have seen action during the ongoing civil war.

a small number, inherited from Czechoslovakia, all retired.
 Soviet Union
Passed on to successor states.

See also

Comparable missiles


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  2. ^ Zaloga, Steven J. Scud Ballistic Missile and Launch Systems 1955-2005, page 39.
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  7. ^ "( + ) -". 2014-12-15. Archived from the original on 2014-12-17. Retrieved 2014-12-23.
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  23. ^ "Dozens of Saudi-led Forces Killed in Yemen New Tochka Attack- Al Manar TV Website Archive". Almanar.com.lb. 2016-01-18. Archived from the original on 2016-01-27. Retrieved 2017-03-02.
  24. ^ Leith Fadel. "Over 200 Saudi-led Coalition fighters killed in Tochka missile strike". Al-Masdar News. Archived from the original on 2016-11-18. Retrieved 2017-03-02.
  25. ^ "Yemen's Tochka Attack Kills Blackwater Commander, Saudi Mercenaries- Al Manar TV Website Archive". Almanar.com.lb. 2016-01-31. Archived from the original on 2016-02-13. Retrieved 2017-03-02.
  26. ^ "Defense Digest on Twitter: "Updated #Tochka strike damage in Al Anad in #Yemen, 120 Sudanese dead out of the 145 killed & more than 250 injured"". postskriptum.org.com. Retrieved 2019-08-22.
  27. ^ Yerevan debunks reports of Tochka-U missile system use in Nagorno-Karabakh Tass, 30 Sept 2020.
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  32. ^ The Military Balance 2010. P. 223.
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  35. ^ Artillery units of Russia will replace Tochka-U tactical missile with Iskander-M Archived 2017-09-14 at the Wayback Machine - Armyrecognition.com, 28 November 2016
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  37. ^ MILITARIUM - Wojsko Polskie - Uzbrojenie Archived 2013-08-26 at the Wayback Machine

External links

  • CSIS Missile Threat SS-21
  • CSIS Missile Defense Project - The Missile War in Yemen
  • SS-21 Scarab article on Warfare.ru
  • Tochka-U Video
  • SS-21 Scarab (9K79 Tochka)
  • (in Russian) OTR Tochka