Pantsir-S1 short-range air defense systems have undergone upgrade and received new software to intercept precision-guided rockets fired by American-made M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) more effectively, Pantsir-S1 rocket launcher commander with the call sign Baron from Russia’s Western Military District said on January 25.
The Pantsir-S1 was designed to provide point air defense of military, industrial and administrative installations against aircraft, helicopters, precision munitions, cruise missiles and drones.
The United States have supplied Kiev forces with at least 20 HIMARS systems since the start of the Russian special military operation in Ukraine. These systems are mainly armed with M30/M31 series GMLRS GPS-guided rockets, which have a range of more than 70 kilometers.
Ukraine also received 15 M270 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS), which can fire GMLRS rockets, from the United Kingdom, Norway, Germany, France and Italy.
“We fulfill the objectives of shielding military facilities, and also civilian infrastructure. The vehicle’s specific feature is its 360-degree view capability to engage many types of aerial targets: aircraft, helicopters, MLRS, and also drones,” the commander said in a video released by Russia’s Defense Ministry
“This vehicle can operate during a march and on the move. We shot down various types of targets: both Bayraktar drones and Tochka-U [ballistic missiles]. A HIMARS is an altitude target and has its ballistics. Due to its high speed, it is necessary to react quickly to make a decision. These [Pantsir-S1] vehicles have been upgraded to engage this target,” he explained.
In December, RIA Novosti reported that Russian air defenses have received a new software that allows them to quickly detect, tack and shoot down GMLRS rockets. However, the news agency didn’t specify back then which systems were upgraded.
Ukrainian HIMARS and MLRS rockets are being intercepted by Pantsir-S1 and other Russian air defense systems on a daily basis. However, they continue to pose a real threat to military and civilian targets.