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Encyclopedia > Transporter erector launcher
A Russian SA-4 TEL. Photo by GulfLINK.
A Russian SA-8 TELAR. Photo by Naval Expeditionary Warfare Training.

A transporter erector launcher or TEL describes a vehicle which carries one or more missiles and is able to elevate it into a firing position and launch it without having to remove the missile(s) from the vehicle. Such vehicles exist for both surface-to-air missiles and surface-to-surface missiles. Early such missiles were launched from fixed sites and had to be loaded onto trucks for transport, making them more vulnerable to attack since once they were spotted by the enemy they couldn't easily be relocated, and if they were it often took hours or even days to prepare them for launch once they reached their new site. A missile (British English: miss-isle; U.S. English: missl) is, in general, a projectile—that is, something thrown or otherwise propelled. ... A surface-to-air missile (SAM) is a missile designed to be launched from the ground to destroy aircraft. ... A surface-to-surface missile (SSM) is a guided projectile launched from a hand-held, vehicle mounted, trailer mounted or fixed installation or from a ship. ...

A transporter erector launcher and radar or TELAR is the same as a TEL but also incorporates part or all of the radar system necessary for firing the missile(s). Such vehicles have the capability of being autonomous, greatly enhancing their effectiveness. With this type of system each vehicle can fight regardless of the state or presence of support vehicles.

The TEL/TELAR may have a rotating turntable which it can use to aim the missiles, the vehicle may have to turn to aim the missiles, or they may fire straight up.

A Russian SA-12 TEL in transit mode. Photo from Air & Space Power Journal.
A Russian SA-10 TEL ready for launch. Photo by Naval Expeditionary Warfare Training.

  Results from FactBites:
Wing Commander CIC Encyclopedia (80 words)
A Transporter-Erector-Launcher or TEL transports a missile from the loading area to the launch location, points it upwards and launches.
The TEL can then return to the loading area to pick up a new missile and repeat the process.
The often heavy missiles are transported in horizontal position for practical reasons.
Treaty Between the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics on the Elimination of Their ... (6877 words)
The term ``non-deployed launcher'' means a launcher of an intermediate-range missile located outside a deployment area or a launcher of a shorter-range missile located outside a missile operating base.
The number of missiles each launcher of an existing type of intermediate-range missile or shorter-range missile shall be considered to be capable of carrying or containing at one time is the number listed for launchers of missiles of that type in the Memorandum of Understanding.
Intermediate-range and shorter-range missiles and launchers of such missiles and support structures and support equipment associated with such missiles and launchers shall be considered to be eliminated after completion of the procedures set forth in the Protocol on Elimination and upon the notification provided for in paragraph 5(e) of Article IX of this Treaty.
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