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JUNE 2021

Protecting Troops On The Move: The Russian Experience

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Protecting Troops On The Move: The Russian Experience

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After a month and a half of war, Armenia lost against Azerbaijan’s forces in the battle of Nagorno-Karabakh. The conclusion of hostilities, apart from the gross mismanagement by Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and the other Armenian leadership also came down to the woefully undermanned and underequipped forces that the Armenian side had.

The most significant advantage that Azerbaijan, with Turkish support, had was the air superiority. Azerbaijan used a large number of Turkish Bayraktar TB2, as well as Israeli-made UAVs to monitor and continuously strike Armenian positions.

Furthermore, there was the constant threat of strikes by Turkey’s F-16 fighter jets.

As such, there’s been quite a bit of discussion into how things could have gone differently, and how much focus should be placed on protecting one’s forces from air attacks, mostly from UAVs, but also from all other threats.

This is valid in the conventional sense, by defending static positions, but also while forces are on the move, since reports of Armenian (or Azerbaijani forces) being struck while moving towards a position were not uncommon.

As such, on November 17th, military blogger Vladlen Tatarskiy (that participated in the conflict in eastern Ukraine on the side of the Lugansk People’s Republic) ublished some insight into how Russia specifically defends its forces, while they’re on the move. The conclusions are based on a discussion with an unnamed expert, who saw a video Tatarskiy published earlier with Yuri Knutov, who is a well-known Russian military expert.

The entire discussion is below, and all the conclusions made through it:

“Vladlen, good evening. I watched your video with Knutov.

My thoughts on the video are as follows:

  1. The “Pantsir-S1” does not belong to military air defense and therefore cannot defend an armored personnel carrier on the march. This is an object air defense not of the front line of defense.
  2. EW (Electronic Warfare) works on the march – for example, Infauna, R-330BM, Foliage.
  3. The Tor-M2″ SAM protects against all drones, and the “kids” will be dealt with by the new system “Typhoon Air Defense” (an automated system for reconnaissance and target designation of MANPADS calculations) and the future system “Derivation of Air Defense”.
  4. Electronic warfare against drones is limited, it can cut operator-drone communication channels, and crush electronic stuffing.
  5. Supplementing air defense is the “Peresvet” laser complex – which “burns out” the optics on drones. Its current execution is object-based. At the same time, the development of a fully-operational military complex is in progress, at the testing stage.

Question: Do the Russian troops have all of this?

Answer: Some things are currently being delivered, some things are already commissioned, some things are being launched into serial production – everything is going according to plan!

Question: the same question for you: what is needed to cover the BTGr on the march from the air?

Answer: The minimum set is “Tunguska”, “Tor-M2” and MANPADS. Smoke ducts help well, because optics do not see targets in the smoke. Attack drones have weaker optics than scout drones.

Question: So, you’re saying that Tor-2m has not yet been delivered to the troops?

Answer: Tor-M2 is a key unit, its radar can see all drones, even those that are completely made of plastic and with electric engines. “Tor-M2” has entered the army since 2016. The Ministry of Defense signed a contract for its purchase for 100 billion rubles until 2025.

The limited conversation provides some interesting insight in how troops on the move can be defended, with just a few systems, which can be provide a very thorough coverage against UAVs.

Protecting Troops On The Move: The Russian Experience

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Kenny Jones ™

I don’t think Armenia is going to even withdraw now from the areas, Russia has its back, we’ll see what happens after Nov 20, 25 and Dec 1, perhaps all that’s needed is a Turkish provocation to regain the rest of the territories.. ;)

Mr T

armenia is doomed, they dont have even food. As nation they are doomed, probably Rusia wants to annex armenia.

Ruski tacknology…we saw in Syria, Libya and Karabag.

Kenny Jones ™

Then why do Azeris keep postponing the deadline of the areas they would withdraw from?


The reason why is because withdrawing troops does not go over 1 day. It takes several days or even weeks. A lot of planning and logistics.


Of course they will.

Kenny Jones ™

Why so pessimistic :/


Idlib experience, baby :)

Jens Holm

Many good advices, but the vehicles look too much as disfunction tennisplayers.

I would say they should have specialized vehicles for protection.

Too much as implementing a coffee machine to my computer. Its a good idea no offence.

Rhodium 10

AZ even dont need drone attacks vs NK forces…because NK places in static position SA-8/13, Artillery, APC, BMP-21..etc…just rockets or ground to ground missile with GPS guide would be enough!…some SA-8 were destroyed using 1º one or two Orbiter drone with laser pointer and behind them a TB2 flying at 6500mts out of the range of SA-8…then only have to launch a laser guide small bomb safety!…there was only one TOR system in NK ( deployed in Martuni)…that system shot down all drones around its area…2 TB2 and some Harop ( confirmed by photos)..at the end AZ&Turks special forces using an small Cuadracopter drone spotted him when was moving to a warehouse…then Harop drones attacked it when was turn off and hided there.


Most of those drones should have been taken down by the Armenian Air Defense Force and Air Force before they got anywhere near the Artsahk targets that they were hitting.


Pashinyan is a saboteur. He’s the worst thing to happen to Armenia this century. The airspace over Artsahk should have been closed with the S-300s and Buks from Armenian territory.

The Artsahk short range air defense is vulnerable to out of range launch platform launched munitions. Where the air defense systems have to take down the munitions rather than rhe launch platforms.


Lol do you think two or three batteries of S-300 can close the airspace? That’s not how it works. They will need Integrated air defence in place to combat all arial threats. Especially good Drone defence systems which today consists of EW.




No it doesn’t. Not only were the Armenians incapable of operating any of their air defence systems, let alone their lack of equipment, but they literally placed S-300 batteries CLOSE TO THE FRONT LINES. I mean really? How stupid can u be? Also, drones are much more difficult to shoot down with modern day AD as Russia and US solely focused on Missile and large aircraft defences whereas drones are much smaller and can fly in low altitude. EW may work as it has been proven to be successful with the Russians in Syria but there still doesn’t exist a fully capable AD against drones.


Do you really expect me to believe that the Armenian Air Defense Force, which is integrated with the Russian Air Defense Force to help protect Armenian airspace and Russia’s southern border, doesn’t know how to operate the equipment that they’re running? If you believe that it says more about you than it does about me.

There isn’t a fully capable air defense against any planes or missiles. But drones are the slowest easiest to hit target. And if the Armenian Air Defense Force and Air Force had shot down 75% to 90% of the drones that didn’t get shot down. The war would have turned out much differently.

Drones the size of a Cessna 150 and just as slow are more difficult to shoot down than smaller faster missiles? Really? You’re a fool who doesn’t know what they’re talking about.

John Brown

Yes also operating in concert with with the TOR, the Pantisir etc.


No, their radars are still not powerful enough to detect drones from afar. Yes, TOR is much better than Pantsir but still isn’t enough. What makes drones deadly is the fact that they are cheap, can maneuver pretty good and fly low altitudes so radars won’t detect it.

John Brown

Their radars are still not powerful enough to detect dronesfrom a far separaety

Yes but operating all together with the S-300 and the S-4-00 etc.as they are designed to do, they are powerful enough to detect drones from a far.

The empire sends swarms of hundreds of such drones against the Russian base at Tartus on a regular basis and none of them ever get through. If Russian air defenses can’t detect them as you say how do they neutralize them all??

John Brown

Pashinyan is a saboteur.

Pashinyan and the Soros coup leaders even supplied the head choppers with the AK47s they used to kill Armenians and they also refused to allow Russia to help Armenia much earlier because Soros did not want Russian peace keepers.

The Azer advance could have been stopped at the first cease fire if not for Pashinyan and the other Soros coup leaders refusing Russian peace keepers.

Pashinyan and the other Soros coup leaders are hero’s of Soros,Turkey and ISIS .


This is complete misunderstanding of both the capabilities of the mentioned systems, and the terrain of NK. First, the S300 is good against air planes, which were not really used in this conflict. Second, it is essentially it is impossible to have a line of sight from Armenia to NK due to the mountain ranges present in that area. Placing S300 deep into NK into a valley surrounded by high mountains was a strategic mistake, and lead to easy destruction of at least one unit of the system by AZ. For closing the NK airspace Armenia would have needed areal radars as well (like AWACS, A50, A100) plus a lot more BUK/TOR missiles on the ground in NK. However, closing the airspace would have not hindered the presence of AZ drones, as none of those weapons are really good or cost effective against drones/loitering munitions, which caused most of the damage..


80% of the Azeri occupied parts of Artsahk are flat. So terrain isn’t an issue there. If they were stopped on the plain they wouldn’t have made it into the mountains.

There were plenty of radars in Artsahk for the short range systems there. And the air force can use radar from elevation. comment image

Buks and S-300s are designed to take down missiles a lot faster and harder to hit that are the size of drones. Drones the size necessary to destroy heavy weapons and troop formations are easily destroyed with medium to long range systems. Buks were used extensively in Idlib to shut down the Turkish drone problem there.

Aircraft fired R77s have ranges up to 200km. Armenia had everything that it needed to put a no fly zone in place even without Russian cooperation. And their air defense force is fully integrated into the Russian satcom system if the Russians would provide data links. And the Russians have more advanced air defense capability of their own based in Armenia.

“Under this agreement, we shall be able, when carrying our regional air defense tasks, to use Russian fourth-generation multi-role jet fighters, S-300 systems, their anti-missile and radar capabilities for aerial reconnaissance,” Armenian Defense Minister Seyran Ohanyan told the country’s public television station Armenia 1.”

– Russia, Armenia to set up joint air defense system in the Caucasus –


“The Russian President Vladimir Putin ratified an agreement with Armenia aimed at creating a joint air defense system in the Caucasus.

The purpose of the agreement is to improve the air defense system in the Caucasus region. The main command of the troops will be administered by Russia, while separate special divisions will be headed by Armenia”

– Putin signs law on creating joint air defense system in Caucasus –



First, none of the terrain is really flat. In that region there are only hilly and mountainous areas. Whatever can be considered flat is usually small stretches of valleys. Second, while Su30 may have a reasonable radar, I doubt it can detect a loitering munitions from 400 km. Also one thing is detecting, another thing is getting the information to the air defences with appropriate coordinates etc. I doubt if Armentian Su30 radar is operably linked to soviet era air defenses in NK. While this seems to be logical, in reality these kind of situation awarness is extremely difficult to engineer, especially with respect to legacy systems. I do not think this kind of integration even exists in the US systems, who are ahead in this area for sure. So forget about using Su30 radars from Armenia as a means to counter drones launched from AZ.


At a couple of hundred meters elevation variance over most of it. For radar purposes the southern plain is flat. The Artsahk republic is 40 to 50 miles wide at most. Most of that’s line of sight dog fight range in a jet interceptor without even leaving Armenian airspace. I’m sure that the SU-30s radar works just fine at that range. And I’d be very surprised if it’s not interoperable with Armenian Air Defense Force ground stations. Including the S-300s and Buks. Which have the range to take down drones over Artsahk and western Azeri airspace.

“the land based variants accounted for most of the avionic and propulsion improvements. The most important early derivative was the dual role single seat Su-27M strike fighter, … air/air and air/ground GCI (Ground Control Intercept) datalinks

“The MiG-31 was equipped with RK-RLDN and APD-518[36] digital secure datalinks. The RK-RLDN datalink is for communication with ground control centers.”

– Mikoyan MiG-31 –


What type of satcom capability the Artsahk systems had with the Armenian Air Defense Force and Air Force as forward observation stations is unknown in open source material as far as I’ve seen. The S-300s and Tor are capable of it. The Osas should have functional retrofit ability with datalink tie ins to their computers, or video monitoring of their screens. Some of the radars aren’t stealth capable, and some are. A lot of the drones aren’t stealth.

The bottom line is that Armenia and Artsahk have the military to stop the Azeri advance, including the drones, and that Pashinyan is a saboteur with a lot of Armenian and Artsahk blood on his hands.


Good article but Pantsir S-1 was literally humiliated everytime someone launched drone attacks or multiple missile attacks against it. Russian sources said, when the Russian airbase was attacked by swarms of drones, Pantsir had a success rate of 17% !!! While Tor M2 had a success rate of 87-93%.

Harry Smith

Where did you get the information about success rate?


Search Pantsir success rate. It was written by a Russian media outlet and later repeated in Pro gov outlet Almasdarnews.com It was either 17% or 19%.

Harry Smith

They have 10 articles about Pantsir. No one has info about success rate.

John Brown

Yse but the Pantsir S-1 along with other air defense systems EW etc.work together with the TOR to track and shot down and disable drones.

Антон С

“Russian sources said”
Liberal ones? Don’t trust them. All you that you said is not existing in reality.


Pantsir has been very successful actually, in Syria they shot down 20-25 FUKUS cruise missiles (denied by them of course), between 7 to 12 TB2 drones + larger numbers of other drones. In turn they only lost about 3 or 4 pantsir. The claim of Russian airbase Pantsirs failing is likely disinformation.

As for Israeli strikes in Syria, the pantsir has intercepted probably more than 100 advanced standoff missiles and bombs, in turn only losing about 5 or so; in some cases because they had run out of missiles or were inactive at the time.

As for Libya, the GNA lost at least 19 TB2 drones (confirmed by photos) + numerous other types, mostly to UAE pantsirs. They lost only a hand full to drone strikes, with most of the 10 they lost being destroyed/captured after being abandoned by inept troops.

Dick Von Dast'Ard
Pepe Little Sudiar


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