On June 18, Libyan sources released several photos showing units of the Libyan National Army (LNA) escorting a Russian-made Pantsir-S1 air-defense system near al-Jufra Airbase in the central part of the country.
The system showed by the photos is wheeled on German-made MAN SX 45 8×8 trucks. This variant is in service with the United Arab Emirates Armed Forces only, which leaves no doubts about the origin of the system.
The Pantsir-S1, which designed to defend installations, is armed with two dual 2A38M 30 mm autocannon guns along with up to twelve radio-command-guided 57E6 surface-to-air missiles with an operational range of 20 km and a flight altitude of 10 km.
The UAE’s decision to supply such an advanced air-defense system to the LNA was likely a response to the increasing Turkish involvement in Libya. Earlier this month, Libyan sources confirmed that Ankara deployed several unmanned combat aerial vehicles (UCAVs) in the country to support forces loyal to the Government of National Accord (GNA).
The Pantsir-S1 system will not be effective against the Turkish UCAVs only, but also against the aged warplanes of the GNA’s air force. This will likely give the LNA a major advantage and give the Libyan Air Force (LAF) a chance to gain aerial superiority.
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