Smartly modernized: Pantsir-SM-SV will strengthen the domestic air defense

Smartly modernized: Pantsir-SM-SV will strengthen the domestic air defense

17 September , 10:52Technology
The Ministry of Defense announced a soonest delivery to the troops of the deeply modernized anti-aircraft missile-gun complex Pantsir-SM-SV.

Victor Kuzovkov

As the name implies, this is a modification of the well-known Pantsir-S1 complex, which is one of the main elements of a short-range air defense system at the moment. The novelty will receive a number of impressive "upgrades", which will make it possible to speak of a multiple, at least two-fold, increase in the combat capabilities of the new air defense missile system. The main purpose of the complex, which has already been nicknamed Super Pantsir (Super Armor), will be to cover its older counterparts, long-range air defense systems, from the threats from the near zone - rocket and artillery shells, small unmanned aerial vehicles, low-flying cruise missiles. But the list of possible targets for the modified air defense missile system is not limited to this - it can still work on enemy aircraft and helicopters, high-precision ammunition, anti-radar missiles, and so on...

Modernization affected several of the main systems of the new missile and cannon complex at once. In particular, new missiles have been created for it, having a significantly higher flight speed - up to 3000 meters per second. Thanks to this, as well as the new radar and fire control system, it became possible to defeat air targets at a distance of up to 40 kilometers and an altitude of up to 15 km. This made the novelty as close as possible to medium-range complexes - earlier, the first modifications of the Buk complex, for example, fired so far.

Small-sized short-range missiles were also developed. As it turned out, it is not very profitable to spend expensive anti-aircraft missiles on targets like a civilian quadcopter, which terrorists of all stripes are increasingly using in their actions. New ammunition will be able to fight against similar targets, as well as mines and rockets, while remaining within the normal price-performance ratio. It is also important that three such small-sized missiles can be placed in a standard "Super Armor" launch container at once, which means that it will be much more difficult to discharge the air defense missile system with a deliberate attack of false targets and imitators.

Pantsir-SM-SV will be supplied to the troops on a tracked chassis. This is an important innovation as better flotation is sometimes critical for these machines. The fact is that the positions for the air defense missile system are not taken arbitrarily, whoever got up wherever he could, but they are assigned based on the analysis of the terrain. That is, first, the optimal position for the long-range air defense system is determined, in our case it will be the S-300V4, S-400 and, probably, the S-500. Then the weak points of this position are calculated - "dead zones" for the radar, through which a covert approach of aircraft or enemy weapons is possible. And only then cover means are deployed that can make these "dead zones" dead for enemy aircraft. Accordingly, sometimes you need to cross a stream, a small river at any cost, climb a hill off-road, and so on. Previously, the Pantsirs were supplied on the basis of KAMAZ vehicles, which gave a gain in mobility, but potentially led to problems precisely from the point of view of occupying optimal firing positions. In addition, tractors of large air defense systems do not differ in high speed on the march, and the speed of a wheeled KAMAZ would simply be excessive.

The special version of the Pantsir ZRPK (anti-aircraft missile and gun system) is not an initiative development of the design bureau, but was ordered by the Ministry of Defense, based on an analysis of the use of the Pantsir-C1 complex and its modifications in the army, as well as its combat use in Syria. The last factor, by the way, gave our military a lot of food for thought.

As it turned out, the complex's radar station did not cope well with low-speed targets, such as civilian drones, which terrorists massively order for Ali Express. Here's a missile - please. A quadrocopter, carrying a small land mine at low altitude at a bird's speed, caused certain problems associated with the peculiarities of the radar operation. In addition, it was at the same time that the problem of the cost of ammunition came to light - spending tens of thousands of dollars to defeat a civilian quadcopter turned out to be too expensive, and not spending it was simply dangerous. And they, in total, were launched by dozens, if not hundreds.

That is, relying on open information, we can state the following: the range of combat use of the new complex has doubled compared to its predecessors. Previously, the longest-range missiles of the Pantsir-S1 complex reached the enemy at a range of about 20 kilometers and an altitude of no more than 10 kilometers. The height has also grown - now the enemy should be wary of an attack even at an altitude of 15 km.

The speed of the missiles has increased significantly - from 1300 to 3000 meters per second. More precisely, the old missiles fly at the same speed, covering the average range of up to 20 kilometers, but the new ones are two and a half times faster. This significantly reduced the reaction time and greatly complicated the life of the potential enemy's aircraft - now, in the zone of direct contact with the air defense missile system radar, an enemy aircraft, cruise missile or drone can live no more than 15 seconds. And this is at a maximum range of 40 kilometers, which is quite a lot, even in our age of more and more advanced weapons and guidance devices.

The new complex can be supplied to the troops in two versions - purely rocket and rocket-cannon. In the first case, it can accommodate up to 24 missiles, and in the second - 12. But this does not include small-sized melee missiles, which, recall, can be placed up to 3 pieces in each standard launch container.

The modernization did not affect the cannon armament of the new air defense missile system. But this, in general, is expected - there is almost no resource left for a significant increase in the range and accuracy of the guns, and everything that is possible has been squeezed out of them. An effective range of cannon fire up to 4 kilometers is very serious. More is possible, but only by increasing the caliber, which means a significant increase in the weight of the ammunition carried. In addition, this would require reworking the carriages and all supporting structures of the complex, which can hardly be considered expedient. In principle, it is obvious that the main work should be carried out by the missile armament of the complex, and the cannons are of an auxiliary role, getting, completing what could break through the missile "umbrella".

As for the main purpose of Pantsir-SM-SV, then it can be considered very relevant. The fact is that long-range air defense systems, like the aforementioned S-300V4, are good only at long and medium distances. Alas, they cannot effectively repel weapons that have broken through into the near zone. The problem is aggravated by the fact that there is a huge "funnel" above the air defense system - a dead zone, into which the horizontally rotating radar does not even try to look. This vulnerable direction is actively used by aviation - for more than one year there have been aeroballistic anti-radar missiles that climb to an altitude of 40 kilometers or more, where most air defense systems cannot reach them, and from there, from above, attacking the radar that becomes defenseless for them.

At the same time, the role of long-range air defense systems in the modern air defense system of Russia can hardly be overestimated - they are capable of hitting aviation and ballistic missiles, including medium-range missiles, and unmanned means of attack, in particular, cruise missiles, and create a zone of relative comfort for the allied aviation. If they are reliably covered from means of destruction that are inconvenient for them, they can radically improve the quality of air cover for strategic military and civilian objects, military groupings, communications and communication centers. Accordingly, the appearance of the Pantsir-SM-SV complex will certainly seriously enhance the combat stability of the Russian army, increase the potential of the air defense system not only in the short and medium range, but also in all possible radii and altitudes of combat use.

Summing up, we can say that we are faced with a case of a fairly rational spending of funds by the military. Alas, this does not always happen, and this problem is typical for most states that have substantial armies and corresponding military budgets.

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