The SS-23 short-range ballistic missile (NATO designation: Spider) was an early-1970's replacement for the 9K72 Elbrus (also known as the SS-1C "Scud B"). It was built on the 9M714 solid-fuel missile, which allowed it to be readied and fired within 30 minutes. It had a range of 310 km, and traveled at Mach 9 (6,800 mph). It was rumored that these missiles had targeting systems accurate to within 100 meters.

Using the SS-23 and the SS-21, the USSR could strike at almost all NATO airfields in Europe by the 1980's. The missile was deployed via missile trucks (similar to the Scud launchers made famous by Operation: Desert Storm), and could be moved quickly or launched from remote locations.

Under the terms of the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty, all short- and medium-range nuclear capable launchers, rockets and warheads were banned. 239 SS-23 missiles were confirmed destroyed by 1989, as well as all known launchers.

Unfortunately, the Soviets had falsified some of the data submitted to the INF, and an estimated 120 SS-23 missiles had been supplied to three East European nations (Slovakia, Bulgaria, and East Germany). The US is now negotiating separately with these nations for the destruction of these weapons.

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