Russia’s Pantsyr-S anti-aircraft missile systems successfully struck ground targets with their guns in Syria, in particular, terrorists’ jihad mobiles, Chief Designer for Air Defense Systems at the Shipunov Design Bureau of Instrument Engineering (part of High Precision Systems Company within the state hi-tech corporation Rostec) Valery Slugin told TASS on Wednesday.
“The Pantsyr can shield itself, for example, against an infantry fighting vehicle or a jihad mobile and this is how its guns were used in Syria and this use proved to be effective,” the chief designer said.
The Pantsyr anti-aircraft missile/gun system strikes air targets mostly with missiles, the chief designer specified. “We try not to allow a target to approach the gun fire range. The closest range for the missile armament is about 1.5 km. If something approaches closer, we destroy these targets already with the guns,” he explained.
The air defense missile and artillery system Pantsyr, if installed on the coast, is capable of hitting surface targets on the sea, according to Valery Slugin.
The original terms of reference required that Pantsyr should be able to attack targets on the ground. This capability relies on the optical targeting system.
“I believe that Pantsyr will be able to attack surface targets on the sea, too. If placed on the coast, preferably as high as possible, the system will be able to attack surface ships ten kilometers away.
Capability to fight mini-drones
The radar station and missiles of Russia’s Pantsyr-S anti-aircraft missile/gun system have received a capability to fight mini-drones, according to the chief designer.
“The fight against small low-speed targets is a vulnerable area for all radar stations and today other air defense systems are incapable of fighting such drones as the Phantom quadcopter [its maximum size is just 35 cm],” the chief designer explained.
“We have adapted the [Pantsyr’s] locator capabilities for detecting and precisely tracking low-observable targets,” the chief designer stated.
“This is a very complex problem but the Pantsyr copes with it,” he asserted.
According to the chief designer, “certain improvements were made in the missile.”
Initially, mini-drones were not among the Pantsyr’s targets and at the time of its creation drones were mostly quite large fast-moving aircraft-type targets, he noted.
As the chief designer said, the Pantsyr is designated to fight rockets of multiple launch rocket systems, mortar shells, cruise missiles, tactical ballistic and hypersonic weapons.
Mini-missile for Pantsyr
A new small-size missile for attacking small drones may be created for the missile and artillery system Pantsyr-S in three-four years from now, the chief designer told TASS in an interview.
Slugin says the development, production and testing cycle of new missiles will take three or four years. Currently research and development work for the new missile is underway.
According to the chief designer, the main task is to increase the set of ammunition used against small targets and reduce costs.
One Pantsyr vehicle, Slugin added, has a standard set of ammunition consisting of 12 missiles and 1,400 artillery shells. The gun is capable of destroying about 20 targets or more, but in modern combat situation this may not be enough.
“We can supply the Pantsyr with four times more such small missiles. This will increase combat effectiveness and the number of targets that can be destroyed,” he went on.
Such targets as small slow drones can be shot down at a distance of no more than 5-7 kilometers. Using the standard missiles with an effective range of 20-30 kilometers is too costly.
“Currently we destroy such targets at a distance of 5-7 kilometers, within what we call the near zone. Why should we stuff the missile with so much powder and equip it with such powerful engines? It is economically feasible to make a small missile,” Slugin elaborated.
The designer believes that small missiles will be as long as the standard ones, but far smaller in diameter. Instead of one standard missile the launcher will be equipped with a cluster of four.
“Only the launcher’s electronic brain will have to be changed,” he pointed out.
The Pantsyr-S1 (NATO reporting name: SA-22 Greyhound) is a ground-based self-propelled surface-to-air missile/gun system designated to shield military and civilian facilities, including long-range air defense systems, from all modern and future air attack weapons. The Pantsyr consists of 12 surface-to-air missiles (six missiles in two transport and launch containers each).
The Pantsyr is also armed with two 30mm guns, each of which is capable of firing up to 40 rounds per second.