Russian Pantsir-S Goes Hunting In Syrian Skies

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Written and produced by SF Team: J.Hawk, Daniel Deiss, Edwin Watson

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While the S-400 has captured the headlines, in part because the maps showing the system’s impressive engagement radius make good copy, in actuality the S-400 is the tip of the iceberg that is the integrated, multi-layer, air defense network that Russia has emplaced in Syria, mainly to protect its bases in Tartus and Hmeimim, but also forward airfields and own forces in the field.

The bottom, and also the most active, layer of that network is the Pantsir-S short-range air defense system which closes the gaps that will inevitably be left by the far more powerful S-400 and Buk-M2 weapons. The complex relief of Syria and of course the Earth’s curvature mean that the main effect of the long-range weapons is to force enemy aircraft to very low altitudes in order to stay out of the S-400 kill zones and to rely on GPS-guided stand-off munitions such as JASSM, JDAM, and SDB, possibly using toss-bombing techniques to extend the range of the gliding bombs.

While the S-400 can shoot down cruise missiles and even gliding bombs, it is gross overkill to use its powerful and also relatively scarce missiles against such puny targets. Instead, this is the mission for which the Pantsir-S was designed from the outset. Since each individual Pantsir-S vehicle carries 12 57E6 radio command guided, 20km range missiles and two 30mm 2A38 cannon with 700 rounds per gun and a rate of fire of 2500 shots per minute, it closes the low-altitude gaps of the S-400 and generates sufficient short-range missile and gun firepower to shoot down incoming missiles and munitions, thus allowing the S-400 to keep enemy manned aircraft at bay.

It is indeed a measure of the S-400’s effectiveness that kept it from having to fire a single missile in anger in Syria. So instead the aerial threats to Russian forces in theater have taken a different form, one which has kept the Pantsir-S vehicles quite busy. In 2017 alone Pantsir-S vehicles in Syria so far destroyed 12 aerial vehicles, all of them with missiles. Two of them were probably innocuous–drifting balloons, though given the nature of the conflict, and the fact they were both downed a few days apart in June over Tartus and Hmeimim, these balloons may have been fitted out with surveillance equipment to observe Russian military facilities. Both were destroyed at close to the missiles’ maximum range. Four of the targets were artillery rockets shot down over Hmeimim and Masyaf in Hama Province, all of them in March. The remainders are surveillance drones, including one Turkish-manufactured Bayraktar drone downed near Tartus on May 11, three Israeli-manufactured Heron drones downed near Tartus and Masyaf in April, May, and July of this year, one unspecified mini-drone over Masyaf and (drumroll please) a single RQ-21A Blackjack UAV downed near Tartus on May 27, 2017. That last downing is particularly interesting, since the Blackjack only entered service in 2016 and its sole confirmed users are Canada and…the United States Navy and Marine Corps. They are known to have been deployed by the USMC to Iraq in 2016, but can also be operated from naval vessels. Its 16-hour endurance presumably allows it to have been possibly launched from the British airbase in Cyprus.

These incidents indicate that there are still many parties unhappy with the course the war in Syria has taken, which leaves open the possibility of a serious escalation. They also show that the Russian air defenders are keeping their eyes and ears open, ready to bring down any violators of the Syrian airspace. As the proliferation of drones is only likely to increase in the coming years, the Tula-based KBT is already working on an improved version of the Pantsir, designated the Pantsir-SM, incorporating the experience gathered during its service in Syria. The improvements include a micro-missile specifically designed to defeat enemy drones, with four such weapons being carried within an individual 57E6 missile tube, thus reducing engagement cost and increasing the volume of fire against the drone swarms of the future.

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  • Kell

    Wow I had no idea they were downing drones left right and center, nice.

  • Deo Cass

    Panzir is not only a formidable anti-aircraft/copter system, it is also an exceptional groundcwarfare sysyem, able to destroy tanks, armoured veihcles and armoured explosive rigged veihicles, besides of course being devastating against military personell.

    • testera

      Good luck in destroying tanks with it.
      Capability of engaging land targets is there as a means of self defense. The vehicle is not capable of withstanding incoming fire and pushing in it fire support role is a dumb thing to do, especially with all the Shilkas and technicals available.

      • john haggle

        Using the word “dumb” undoes your argument as it is reveals an inherent emotional bias in an otherwise well stated case. “You’re dumb”. See what I mean?

        • testera

          No. I didn’t call a person dumb, but an action (and there is a significant difference between those two). I could also say that cavalry charge against tanks is a dumb thing to do, and give some arguments why. If you don’t share that opinion, some contra arguments should be presented. Claiming “an inherent emotional bias” towards an action is not a good one.

          • Mikronos

            Some people are as sensitive to ‘bad’ language as others are to penicillin, peanut butter, perfume or seafood. They’re not just being ‘cranky’.

            Or maybe some are.

  • FlorianGeyer

    The Pantsir’s will likely have more to in Deir Ezzor to help the US Coalition prevent their ‘mistakes’.

    • Nick

      They will do NOTHING.
      Putin is “very British” => no friends, no enemies, JUST )INTERESTS.
      And he STILL tries to persuade the NATO-dvmb-a++ess to re accept him as PARTNER, kisses the a++ of Israel ( look at the “UN-resolution” against N.Korea) and is CONCESSIVE to all Deep-State-pYggeries in the US-Foreign-Politics.
      Brejnew would have already wiped out all that CIA-garbage, took back the GOLANs and finished the presence of the USA in Irak., had permanent bases in IRAN and Navy in IRANIAN -ports, The Baltics would have been quiet in their pYgsty.
      And be sure TURKEY wouldn’t have shot down any Russian plane..

      OK maybe PUTIN tries to GAIN TIME for his Military to finish their restructuring and RE-arming, to get ready. But THE PRICE is too high even for that.

      • FlorianGeyer

        Act in haste and repent at leisure.

      • Ken Wiltshire

        Hey Nick, Although I may agree with everything you say, just not with so much frustration. I do see very impressive signs of changes as a result of their methods. Eg. the dollar about to lose its grip on world finances, and hopefully Venezuela getting away with what Iraq and Lybia could not, The US and pals not being so quick to devastate Iran and North Korea. Russia seems to be trying to get out of this with out burning the whole world down which will take some time and a whole lot of maneuvering. Time which they very much need to prepare for a more forceful stand. We’re on the same side Nick. We all want change.

      • 888mladen .

        It seems like people are slowly coming to the point where they are able to see things for what they are.

      • john haggle

        Using the words “dumb-a+++, ass+++” makes the intelligent reader think your being emotional and not logical. Replace these non-helpful words with better ones and you might win more arguments, as you made some good points.

  • MD Ranix

    amazing news southfront …. God bless russia for keeping safety in check …. great job indeed

  • Jesus

    Great short range air defense system against a wide variety of targets.

  • Hugh Allan

    Thank god we have the Russians to counter balance American global hegemony. Otherwise we would all be slaves to U.S. imperialism and the banksters.

    • Rodney Loder

      Everything the Orthodox Christians said about the effect that Russian defection from the Soviet Union turned out to be a counter narrative of what really transpired, Russia caved in North Korea didn’t, you should be posting thank God we have the DPRK.

      • Justin

        U speak total horse shit as usual!
        Russia was out of the picture after the fall of the USSR!
        Thats why the US stopped its Cold War and begun its fake war on terror!
        With the Soviets out of the way, they could run through the middles east uncontested! As so they did!
        But Russia recovered and now they are putting a stop to it all!

        N. Korea have done nothing since the 1990’s! They have been completely irrelevant until now!

        You always get your history wrong!

        On a side note# please explain to me how light came from Muhammad’s mothers vagaina when he was born!
        Can u explain this scientifically? Or its just something that happened and nobody can explain it! I want you to educate me on this! Please don’t go on a long rant about it! Just tell me how it happened! If u don’t know how, then just say “I don’t know how”! That will be fine!

        • John Whitehot

          one asks himself if you aren’t just trying to make a certain type of person (Christian, supportive of Russian actions, etc), a total piece of shit in the eyes of another type of person (Generic Muslim, not fundamentalist but anyway religious).

          This kind of shit has been going on from the start over these pages, and in any way I look at it, it stinks of “zionist” manipulation.

          • Rodney Loder

            Lenin’s chosen audience was the Peasants to win with them he sold out the Workers, Stalin reversed the situation and if you read Magnetic Mountain by Stephen Kotkin you’ll notice that the Christians didn’t really figure in it, that’s because the Jews who were good Jews before the recreation of isreal without a Redeemer were assimilating along with the Christians, that’s the way that it should have stayed, and would have stayed and would be now, if the evil pope John Paul hadn’t been using my being as his perverse rantings.

          • João Leston

            Most Peasants in Russia didn’t even knew a revolution was coming. That’s a stated fact that they had to educate them on what was comunism and why they had to share everything. The Workers, and by that you mean factory workers, were the base of the revolution in the cities, but of course, Russia did not had a big industry at the time (not Russia based at least) so they relied on everyone that was unsatisfied, that’s when the soldiers, farmers and college educated people appeared (later many were educated and/or changed lives, but thats just the normal thing to happen when a country changes to industrialism and big cities).

          • Rodney Loder

            Good post, we all see it differently, three people in history I salute ultimately, Socrates, Ahmed b. Hanbal and Karl Marx, I would include Rosa Luxemburg but she went with Plato so it’s not ultimate, but yet, very close. The Revolution was about property rights and the reason Marx abandoned his earlier axioms concerning the temporary nature of Capitalism was because he saw the manifestation of State power in the form of Railways, State run factories and Ship yards, (monopoly capitalism that made the USA great), what I think the most single act of genius was that won the war for the Red Army was the execution of the Tsar and his family, the counter Revolution couldn’t think straight after that, and the anarchists were embolden because of it, doing crazy things, Lenin took the centre, as soon as anyone states that the farmers, soldiers and college educated people who put their trust in the White Leadership without that leadership showing any kind of dictum towards land reform, and consequently lost because of it, find themselves in subliminal agreement with me.
            I think that the the reason they couldn’t engage intellectually was due to their sentiments concerning the execution of the Tsar and his Family.
            Philosophically I don’t accept the Roman concept of property ownership, I personally don’t own anything outright my property in Kangaroo Valley is joint title with my son and his house that I largely paid for in Western Australia is not in my name at all, I’m a bit like the Whites I have great sentiment but unlike them I’m not chauvinistic and I don’t judge or bear resentment, let Allah decide, 3 weeks in Damascus is all I need.

          • Justin

            Lol, zionist manipulation!

            Dude i post soo much shit against jews!
            So dont even go there!

            Ive also said christianity is a load of crap too even though i am educated as a roman catholic!

            Im am absolutely anti man made religion although i am gnostic as i have stated before!

            Hell yes i support russia because i have said many times “the enemy of my enemy is my friend”.

            The shit i post about orthodox christians is thay they at least celebrate christmas on the actual day jesus was supposed to be born!

            I aint no zionist! I hate them!
            i hate jews THE MOST!
            Then i hate USA second most!
            Then i hate isis and al nusra

            IN THAT ORDER!

            Muslims are ok by me as long as they dont spew their bullshit in their comments as if they are the reasons why shit is happening!

            But yeah, completely anti zionist and i think thats the one group i have attacked THE MOST!

            So check ur facts sunshine!

            By the way i am a white aussie!

            My ancestry is english and irish!

            BOOM!

          • John Whitehot

            bullshit.
            posting shit “against the jews” is part of the business of appearing like a person that is against zionism.

            There’s more. Generally behaving like an ass makes other people unsupportive with the type of person you emulate, with reasonings like “look at these anti-zionist charachters, they are such assholes”.

            Fuck Mossad.

          • XRGRSF

            So John, my toilet penned associate, where does that leave you?

          • John Whitehot

            hilarious.
            where does that leaves me what?

          • Attrition47

            Blam the fucker. ;o)

          • Justin

            Well I don’t know how I can prove it to u but then again, I dot really give a fuck!
            If u are anti-zionist then thats great!
            If u are an American, are still a fuck head even if u are anti-zionist!
            I don’t like yanks either!
            Totally fine with Brits, French etc etc!
            Hate Saudi’s!

            Ive never met a jew I like except from one guy from Ukraine who immigrated to Australia!

            But the rest of them can just die right now and I won’t have a problem!

            I hate America because they are controlled by jews!
            And their citizens are too dumb to change their system!

            But then again, why am I telling u this!
            You don’t give a fuck, I don’t give a fuck, we are on the same team but are just a faggot attacking his ally!

            Which now makes me think u are a jew!

            Damn dude!
            Only one thing worse than a jew is a white guy behaving like a jew!
            pull ur head in!

          • John Whitehot

            this is fantastic.

            Anyway, I met a few jews. Maybe they were the wrong kind of jews but in general they were people that behaved arrogantly with those weaker and servilely with those stronger.

            Not that I make a general idea about a people from having known 3 or 4 persons.

          • john haggle

            Using words like “shit, crap, ” etc. make readers think you are a troll. Get into a regular exercise program, eat health promoting goods, meditate..pray…get out into nature , whatever. You will benefit from calming your emotions down and focusing logically on things important to you. Being angry so much imbalances your hormones, increases inflammation, and lowers your health. I was once you, so Good luck!

          • 888mladen .

            Agree with you in principle. However it’s Interesting that you have an advice only for Justin but not for John.

          • Justin

            the words “shit, crap, fuck” makes me an everyday forum commenter!
            This isn’t elementary school we are in, and if u don’t like it, flag me!
            U sound like a pussy!

          • Mikronos

            Where did you receive your ‘Roman Catholic’ education? Did you actually pass? And did anybody mention the word ‘Jesus’ to you?

            Like most Roman Catholics you have an elementary school – or, perhaps, a high school level education (if you didn’t skip religion class) in the subject.

            So at best we might compare those qualifications to similar levels in say fields Medicine or Nuclear Physics.

            You did qualify your knowledge as ‘crap’, so you know at least where you’re coming from. A candidate for sainthood – without some work on your conscience – you ain’t. Do you realize where you’re headed?

          • Justin

            U detect a hint of HATE in ir comments!

            Man madr religion is bullshit

            Every religion had a “terms amd conditions” (believe in this and in me and what inteacj and u will reach heaven, if not u will burn in hell)

            Every religion says “we are the ine true word of god”

            Yet all want the opposite

            If u are religious then u are a fool!

            I went to a catholic school becausr my parents thought it would be good
            For
            Me!

            If u get offeneded by it thrn
            Just say “hey, pls dont say that about my religion because im
            Scared to die and i need to believe in something”!

            Lol, scared little puppys!

          • Mikronos

            That Catholic School wasn’t too rigorous in Language Arts – it would appear. We won’t even mention Jesuit logic. It must have been some disappointment to your folks – or a relief that your ability to express yourself wasn’t worse?

            If you’ve been around a palliative care ward you might realize that dying isn’t much fun. Anything that takes the ‘edge’ off that, is valuable.

          • Justin

            Firstly, sorry about the MISTYPES i made. But i am on a small iphone and these damn buttons are too small!

            I think u have been around enough to understand this dilema and id appreciate it if u werent such a spelling nazi!

            Secondly…

            Do u have a problem with someone not believing in man made religion?
            If not, why do u always complain about it?

            Yes i went to a catholic school and yes it made me realise just how much rubbish it all is (when i reached an age to comprehend it all)

            But if u DO CARE, then why?

            Does it offend u?

            So to some it all up….

            U either dont care or u do care.
            Why?

            The spelling shit is just ur attempt to get some frustration out because there are parts of ur life ure not happy with. Otherwise u wouldnt give a fuck about mistypes, NOT MISSPELLS!

            Inteacj, ir, madr and becausr are obvious mistypes!

            Stop bringing your inner Hitler to life and take a chill pill.

            Oh and how about responding in good time, not a fucking month or more later.

          • Mikronos

            I don’t “always” complain about anything. That’s a ridiculous generalization, for we have only met – (that absence of Jesuit logic I mentioned?) .

            You have my apologies for faulting you and my condolences for your fat fingers, You are, possibly, aware that they do give you, what appears to be, a very bony head.

            ”U” is a letter, not a word. To sum it all up (as in addition, eh?), you’d best stay away from serious topics and stick to socializing with others of your ilk. Or get a grammar app – and use it.

          • Justin

            You always complain to me and we “just met”!
            lol “fat fingers” im 86kg’s and im 175cm!
            “U, ur, ure, 4, 2, @, &, tho, i, r” are all commonly used abbreviations mainly used in the last 20 years due to text message size/ letter allocations (back in the 1990’s) and now twitter. Again, if u cant handle the short cuts how are u gonna change the world from doing it? Are u going to complain to everyone?
            U sound like ure 75 years old, listening to the radio and screaming “ahhhhhh this isnt music.! Back in my day, now that was music!”

            You didnt answer my question as to WHY you either care or dont care as to why certain people on the internet do not believe in “man made religions”!

            Would u care to entertain me with an answer?

            Or are u only here to scream at people and police the way the type text to you?

            Why are u even talking to me if u havent got an answer?

            As for the Jewish religion, i know enough! I know enough about teh Jews in my own country too!

            Whats ur problem with ME not believing in “man made” religion?

            As for what i know, i know enough!
            When it comes to geopolitics (which is why i am on this site) i think i know plenty!

            The topic of religion came up when someone was talking about Sunni’s and Shiia’s etc!

            But then u came along with ur 10 cents worth and starting abusing people without a WHY?

            Whats ur WHY?

            Explain urself or STFU!
            Anyone with the name Mikronos is below me anyway!

          • Mikronos

            Dodger Roger. Over and out.

          • 888mladen .

            Secular mind like yours is a pure “zionist” manipulation indeed. You better study history of the Bolshevik revolution and you will understand where it comes from. Enough evidence has been presented on this blog to prove it beyond reasonable doubt however it seems like you chose not to pay attention to it because you were not prepared to deal with it. Bigotry is not a good thing mite.

          • John Whitehot

            I don’t need millions of line of text to understand one simple thing:

            Zionists without money have no power.
            Communism eliminates the financial freedoms, hence deprives zionists of their money.

            The rest is, as said, millions of lines of text written by zionists to convince rightists and neonazis that Communism is bad.
            Guess what? exactly, they want to keep their money and power, and nazis help them.

            That said, I am no communist, but man – “zionists” love nazis more than everybody else.

        • Rodney Loder

          I only read A.Guillaume’s translation of “Surat Rashula Allah” by lbn. lshaq. That story isn’t in it, probably it’s just made up. Its not appropriate to talk about the Prophet’s (pbuH) intimate experiences, however I have been privliged to learn from my extraterrestrial source why he loved Khadija, what happened was, Allah summoned a primeval instinct from our distant past and lumped it together with this intensity that was inspired, Allah did that so Archangel Gabriel wouldn’t freak Him (pbuH) out,

    • Mikronos

      It’s a small theater. Failing the political will to let the ‘real’ warriors ‘get into it’ in significant ways – and having blown a boodle on ‘bad investments’ – the ‘good guys’ aren’t willing to go ‘mano a mano’ in the sci-fi weapons department, yet. There are worse tyrannies to be addressed.

  • Nick

    “…the S-400 has captured the headlines, in part because the maps showing the system’s impressive engagement radius” of DOING NOTHING..
    The Americans bomb Syrian troops, push their nose on Syrian territory by Del-Ezzor, ISRAEL shoots missiles into Syrian Army depots and takes Syrian territory FOR GOOD (Golan)

    Just STFU with your underdog-attitude to ISRAEL and Putin’s “charming offensives” by NATO and ISRAEL.
    _______Putin: “Our Western Partners”. Your A§§, “western partners”., they declared Russia Enemy #1.
    And since that many STOPS &GOES by ALEPPO, something stinks in Putin’s politics.

    Still craving to be RE-ACCEPTED among the G8-RAPTORS and get Crimea recognized by the NATO-a++holes?

    Forget it! Trying to DEAL ASSAD’s head for a trade including Ukraine, Crimea, Baltic-Sea?.. Too much “ISRAEL” in what you do, Mr. Putin.

    • 55lanfag

      If he moves a finger towards Israel, Russia will be sanctioned to oblivion by the UN and that’s something they cannot afford right now. Someone needs to nuke that strip of land into a glassy parking lot already, just wait until more zionist scum move in tho.

  • paul ( original )

    Amongst the targets shot down were two ‘ guided artillery projectiles’. Can
    anyone give more information on this point​? Normally artillery is
    short range so the implication is that they could have been shot down
    as soon as they were discharged. In any event does anyone have some
    more information about this?

  • Marshalldoc

    Interesting from a technical viewpoint, but the meat of the issues is this: “These incidents indicate that there are still many parties unhappy with
    the course the war in Syria has taken, which leaves open the possibility
    of a serious escalation.” What with the recent revelations of the amount of arms shipped to the ME by the U.S. via its various ‘covert’ routes for use by its terrorist proxies, and the increasingly confrontational situation in eastern Deir ez-Zour, any thought that the U.S. has given up on regime-change in Syria is premature. The U.S. has been chipping away at Venezuela for nearly 20 years, only 6 in Syria… it’s still early days.