Luna-M (according to NATO classification – FROG-7) – is a short-range artillery rocket system with unguided ballistic missiles. It is an in-depth modernization of battlefield rocket system Luna that was adopted in 1961. The main designation of battlefield rocket system Luna-M – destruction of troops, techniques, weapons and re-enforced structures placed in rival’s tactical defensive area. The main advantage of the unit over its predecessor is that it has its own hydro mechanic crane with 3 tones capacity and new launching platform. New platform 9P113 provides highway maximum speed up to 60 km/h, pushes and overloading of warhead have been considerably decreased. Before that, Luna unit theoretical maximum speed was only 40 km/h, and even driving on soil with 16-18 km/h speed the chassis experienced overloading which is inadmissible for its atomic warheads.9P113 unit is capable of making not less than 200 9M21 missile launches. To increase stability of the platform during missile launching, two tiltable supports with screw adjusters are applied. Both launching device 9P113 and transporting machine 9T29 have great cross-country ability. They are capable of overcoming rises with 30° angle rate and fording sites up to 1.2 m deep.
Unguided single-stage solid-fuel missile 9М21 is designed for destruction of troops, military technique, firing equipment and defensive structures placed in rival’s tactical defensive area. The missile was designed in several variants with different warheads: 9M21B with nuclear warhead 9N32, 9M21F with high-explosive fragmentation warhead 9N18F, 9М21G with chemical warhead 9N18G and even 9М21D with leaflet warhead 9N-18А.
Battlefield rocket system Luna-M became one of the most popular units in its segment in Soviet Union. During 1986 there were 750 units produced. The system has been withdrawing from service starting from 1986. Despite its old age, the unit is still in inventory in some countries, such as Belorussia –36 Luna and Tochka units jointly, Egypt – 9 9K52 units, Libya – 45 units, Syria – 18 units, Yemen – 12 units, Democratic People's Republic of Korea – 24 units 2Kb/9К52 (FROG-3/FROG-5/FROG-7), according to 2010 year data. In 2013 Military Balance Report prepared by International Institute for Strategic Studies is stated that there were 212 ground-to-ground missiles in 2013 in Ukraine’s military forces including 50 Luna-M missiles, 90 Tochka missiles and 72 Skad-B missiles.
Luna-M unit was used in some regional conflicts, including Afghanistan, Iran-Iraq war of 1980-88 years and 1991 Gulf War. Military debut took place during Arab-Israeli war of 1973. In the course of Iran-Iraq war the Iraqi performed 67 launches of Luna-M missiles. During Chadian civil war 150 missiles of this type were launched on targets placed in the area of South Chad. On 7th of April 2003 Iraqi version of battlefield rocket system Luna-M hit the command center of 2nd maintenance party and 3rd infantry division of the USA. As the result of the explosion, 3 soldiers and 2 journalists were killed, 17 people were wounded. Also 17 Humvee military automobiles were destroyed and 5 armored cars were damaged.
Some military experts reckon that Luna-M unit was used by Ukrainian army in the course of anti-terroristic operations on the territory of Donetsk and Lugansk oblasts (Ukraine). In particular, co-chairman of civic initiative “Prava sprava” («Права Справа») Dmitry Snegirev has told one of Ukrainian publishing that Ukrainian military men have destroyed warehouse with militia’s weapons on the territory of Donetsk state chemical plant, using battlefield rocket system Luna. According to his data, hit was made during unloading of a large shipment of new Russian weapons and service ammunition by militia, including so-called “smart weapons” with radio guidance system. “They hit during the process unloading that should have been performed in three places, but militia had brought weapons in one place (which was short-sighted of them), because there are underground storehouses on the territory of Donetsk state chemical plant. According to the information we possess, among cargo received there were the newest service ammunitions with radio guidance system, as wells as so-called “Smart weapons,” – Dmitry Snegirev explained.