BEIRUT, LEBANON (2:45 P.M.) – The media war over the effectiveness of their air defense systems continued between China and Russia this week, as the Chinese Sina News Agency claimed the Syrian Armed Forces abandoned the Pantsir-S after its alleged poor performance against Israeli attacks.
According to the publication, besides switching over Chinese radars, the Syrian Armed Forces has also begun using the Buk-2ME to confront the Israeli attacks, rather than the Pantsir-S.
“Due to the unsatisfactory combat characteristics of the Pantsir-S air defense system, the Syrian air defense forces began using the latest Buk-2ME mobile air defense system to intercept Israeli missiles,” Sina reports, citing sources in the Syrian army.
Despite criticism of the Pantsir-S by the Chinese publication, it should be pointed out that the Buk-2ME is also a Russian-made air defense system.
There is truth to the Syrian Armed Forces using the Buk-M2E more than usual, as the last two Israeli airstrikes were confronted by this system, rather than the Pantsir-S1.
Even with the Buk-M2E, however, the Syrian military was only able to shoot down two-thirds of the Israeli missiles, which may be an improvement, but it still not able to fully repel the attacks.
A source from the Syrian air defense forces in western Damascus said that they have no plans to abandon their Russian systems, despite the criticism.
The Russian Pantsir system has proven effective in several instances, however, as the Libyan National Army (LNA) has repeatedly shot down Turkish armed drones across Libya.