Development of the S-25 started at the Lavochkin OKB in 1951, expressly indended to defend Moscow from bomber attack. The system developed quickly, and was ready for initial operation in 1954. By the late 1950s 56 sites had been deployed in two rings around Moscow, the inner ring of 22 some 40km from the city center, and the other 34 sites 90km out. Each site contained about 60 launch platforms, for a total deployment of over 3000 missiles.
Each site was equipped with a B-200 guidance system, including a track-while-scan radar (designated Yo-Yo by US intelligence). The system also incorporated fire control equipment which enabled each site to engage as many as 10 targets simultaneously, each with two missiles.
The missile, which went by a variety of names depending on the version, used a single liquid-fueled rocket motor. Although its maximum speed was on the order of Mach 2.5, it had a low initial velocity which limited its engagement capability against supersonic targets. Its maximum intercept range varied depending upon the approach and type of target; against a directly incoming, high-flying B-52 its range was on the order of 30km. The missile carried a huge warhead of 450-700 pounds, and its lethal radius was estimated to be 65-120 feet. It was believed to be capable of interceptions from a minimum altitude of 3,000 feet up to 60,000 feet, with some additional capability up to about 80,000 feet, particularly if equipped with a nuclear warhead.
The SA-1 served as the primary air defence system around Moscow until the 1980s, when it was replaced by small numbers of the SA-12.