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  • The earliest known use of weapons specially made for the anti-aircraft role occurred during the Franco-Prussian war of
  • September 1915 was the first occasion in military history that a military aircraft was shot down with ground-to-air When Private Radoje Ljutovac (Serbian Army) fired his cannon at enemy aircraft and successfully shot one down.
  • Nazi Germany was the first country to develop surface to air missiles during world war-2, but none of them ever reached operational status.
The Nazi Wasserfall SAM.
  • During World war-II, an average of 2,805 rounds had to be fired (usually from German eighty-eights flak guns) for every B-17 bomber destroyed.
  • The Nike Ajax (official name MIM-3/3A) was the first operational SAM system when it was activated in March 1954.
Nike Ajax SAM.
  • Nike Hercules was the first nuclear-tipped SAM, developed to deal with formations of aircraft.
Nike Hercules nuclear tipped SAM.
  • Till date about 10 civilian aircraft has been shot down using SAMs, resulting in 850+ deaths. (Iran Air Flight 655, shoot down by USS Vincennes and 2014 Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over Ukraine being the deadliest)
  • Modern SAMs apart from being able to shoot down aircraft can also intercept and destroy ballistic and cruise missiles.


  • A new generation of SAM can reach speeds upward of 4,800 m/sec during terminal phase.
  • The 9M96 missile of the S-400 SAM system has a range of 400 km and can attain an altitude of 50 Km.


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