In 1963 the Griffon interceptor was paraded in Red Square, and characterized as an ABM interceptor. Construction of this system was first detected in the early 1960's near the Estonian capital Tallinn. An additional 30 sites were detected under construction near Leningrad. However this construction soon ceased. A highly modified version of the Griffon, the Gammon, was subsequently developed. Today in excess of 1000 Gammon launchers are now operational across the Soviet Union.
When this system was first noticed in the West, there was considerable debate over its mission and capabilities. Although the deployed air defense system does have some residual ABM capability, there is now general agreement that it is essentially restricted to an air defense role. In general, its performance seems to be similar to that of the American Nike-Hercules air-defense missile.
The components of this system include:
* Griffon two-stage liquid fueled interceptor, which is 16.5 meters long with a range of over 250 kilometers. This interceptor is no longer operational.
* SA-5 Gammon three-stage solid fuel interceptor missile, a modified and improved version of the Griffon, with parallel rather than tandem first stage booster. The SA-5 is 9.5 meters long with a range of 250 kilometers and active homing radar, and both nuclear and conventional warheads have been reported;
* The Square Pair target-tracking and missile guidance radar, Barlock and Back Net surveillance radars and Side Net height-finding radar are all mechanically steered radars.