Russia delivered a new batch of Pantsir-S air defense systems to the Syrian port Tartus last week, Russian newspaper Kommersant reported on April 26 citing a military diplomatic source.
Kommersant’s source did not provide details on the destination of the delivered air defense systems. However, according to some Syrian pro-government sources, the systems will be delivered to the Syrian Air Defense Forces (SADF).
The Pantsir-S is a surface-to-air missile and anti-aircraft artillery weapon system. It is already in service with the Syrian military. On April 16, the Russian Defense Ministry revealed that the SADF successfully used Pantsir-S systems when it was repelling the April 14 missile strike on the country by the US-led bloc. According to the statement, the Pantsir-S systems fired 25 missiles hitting 23 targets.
On April 25, chief of the Russian General Staff’s main operations directorate Colonel-General Sergei Rudskoy said that Russia is going to supply the Syrian military with more air-defense systems and continue to train Syrian air defense troops. The additional Pantsir-S supplies could be a part of this effort.
During the same press briefing Rudskoy revealed that on April 24 “Russian air defense systems detected and shot down two UAVs [unmanned aerial vehicles] of insurgents at the distance of 10 kilometers from the Khmeimim airbase”. However, according to local sources, the Pantsir-S systems were engaged to destroy some targets at the same time. Probably, they were repelling a reported missile attack on the base.
This was not the first time when the Pantsir-S was involved in repelling attacks on Russian facilities in the war-torn country. In January 2018, Russian air defense systems were applied to defend the airbase and the naval facility in Syria shooting down and jamming 13 UAVs. According to the Russian military, 7 UAVs were destroyed by Pantsir-S systems.