Earlier in November 2018, Viktor Murakhovsky, military expert and editor-in-chief of Russia’s Arsenal of the Fatherland magazine, claimed in a social media post that his sources had indicated that the Pantsir-S1 point air defense system had been virtually worthless in defending Khmeimim, Russian base in Syria’s western Latakia governorate. He said that between April and October 2018, the vehicles, which have a combination of radio command-guided surface-to-air missiles and a pair of 30mm automatic cannons, hit less than one-fifth of their intended targets. In the same period, meanwhile the Tor-M2U short-to-medium range surface-to-air missile systems at the base had an 80 percent hit rate.
Of course, the Tor-M2Us were only transferred to Khmeimim after Russia's air defenses failed against the COTS UAV attack in January, that reportedly damaged a number of aircraft. The Pantsir-S1 is supposed to be Russia's premier point air defense system.
— Rob Lee (@RALee85) November 3, 2018
In light of this new development, we revisit the question we took up couple of weeks ago at Global Defence Watch – What should the Indian Corps invading into Pakistan be armed with to protect them from air launched attacks of Pakistani military ? Given that TOR-M2U System’s 80 percent success rate is in actual war than trial conditions, it is a formidable success rate.
JSC Rosoboronexport, part of the Rostec State Corporation, has started promoting the newest Tor-E2 SAM system developed and produced by the Almaz-Antey Air and Space Defence Concern. The Tor-E2 fits into short-range air defence segment, retaining the best qualities inherent in the Tor family “to become an even more formidable weapon against any current air threats.” With its unique capabilities and performance, the system is “superior to most of its counterparts in the world market and second to none in mobility and survivability. Rosoboronexport is considering its sale from its partners for the supply of these systems,” stated Alexander Mikheev, Director General of Rosoboronexport.
The system provides air defence for army units in combat and on the more, as well as to protect military and other critical facilities from attacks by manned and unmanned aerial vehicles. The Tor-E2 can engage aircraft and helicopters, cruise, anti-radar and various guided missiles. It effectively destroys precision guided munitions, such as glide and guided air bombs, as well as UAVs within its engagement envelope. The system is capable of operating in intense jamming and counter-fire environments, in any weather, by day or night.
The Tor-E2 combat vehicle is an independent, mobile, all-terrain fighting unit that provides detection and identification of air targets on the move and at the halt, target lock-on and engagement at the halt, and on the move. A high level of automation and unique algorithms of the SAM system minimise crew involvement in the engagement process. A battery of the four-channel Tor-E2 SAM systems, consisting of four combat vehicles, can simultaneously engage up to 16 targets flying from any direction at a range of at least 15km and at an altitude of up to 12km. Each vehicle carries 16 missiles, which are twice as many as the previous version of the Tor system.
The Tor-E2 is a unique weapon, one combat vehicle incorporating all which is necessary for anti-air warfare, from target detection to its destruction. The system far exceeds its counterparts in combat survivability : “to knock out a Tor battery, you need to destroy all of its combat vehicles. For most of its counterparts, disabling a command post or a battery radar would be sufficient.” In addition, two Tor-E2 combat vehicles can operate in the ‘link’ mode, which enables them to exchange information about the air situation at different altitude ranges coordinate joint engagement operations. In this mode, one of the combat vehicles, receives information from the other and does not reveal itself until the launch of the missile.
The possibility of integrating the Tor-E2 SAM system into any existing air defence system is available including compatibility with NATO standards, which considerably expands its export potential. A command post can be attached to a battery of four Tor-E2 combat vehicles to control and coordinate them and interact with the air defence control system.
“Rosoboronexport is ready to provide exhaustive information on the Tor-E2 SAM system and we expect much attention for our other new air defence weapons being promoted by our company-the Viking SAM system and the Gibka-S MANPADS squad combat vehicle,” added Alexander Mikheev.
TOR M1 uses 9M330 missile which has a peak speed of around Mach 2.8. Using command guidance and radar controlled proximity fuzes, the missiles can maneuver at up to 30Gs and engage targets flying at up to Mach 2. But TOR E2 utilizes a new interceptor missile 9M338 developed by Almaz Antey which has improved performance, increased ammunition capacity and enables firing-on-the move capability. Military experts describe the Tor-M2 as a unique air defense system in its class with an astounding precision and range.
Those who question why India should import Russian systems when it is developing indigenous systems like QRSAM, AKASH-2 and MRSAM should consider the example of China. China has a well developed missile programme with its PL-15 and PL-10 air to air missiles rivaling Meteor and Mica European missiles in range and accuracy.
In 1996, China ordered 14 Tor-M1 missile systems from Russia which were delivered under contract in 1997. In 1999, another contract for 13 Tor-M1 systems was signed between Russia and China. Delivery of the systems took place in 2000. Chinese meant variants of TOR system are known by the designation HQ-17 (Hongqi-17).
At the 2018 Zhuhai Airshow, China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation unvieled FM-2000, a mobile short-range air-defence (SHORAD) system. Its range is 15 km and engagement altitude is 10 km. It is carried on a 3 axle TEL. It is a version of the HQ-17.
Indian air defence programmes have a lesson in that. So that our projects like QRSAM don’t turn out to be a semi-success like Nirbhay and to some extent Akash missile system, it would be an excellent investment if we can import some Russian TOR-E2 systems with full transfer of technology and then can build upon the import.
Watch the video of Tor M2 missile system :
(Those who are new to the discussion on invasion of Pakistan should refer to our earlier article at these links :
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