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Eastern Europe and Central Asia , Aircraft and Anti-Aircraft

Russian Pantsir Air Defence System to be Equipped with Hypersonic Missiles

March 18th - 2018

Russia's Pantsir air defence battery has been relied on to counter short range threats from aircraft, ballistic and cruise missiles by the Russia Armed Forces and a number of Russia export clients. Armed with both surface to air missiles and dual 30 mm autocannon guns, and capable of engaging ground targets as well as airborne ones, the system is fast, deploys quickly and can prove invaluable in a number of combat situations. The Pantsir's recent deployment to Syria to protect Russian forces stationed there saw the vehicles successfully target numerous surveillance and attack drones operated by Russian adversaries, from state actors to terror groups, and the platforms proved highly effective during these combat tests. The Pantsir's capabilities make it a highly effective counterpart to longer ranged heavier air defence platforms such as the S-300VM which has also been deployed to Syria, with the former being able to protect the latter from low flying short range threats such as attack drones.

While the Pantsir is a capable weapons system, it is set to see its capabilities enhanced significantly in the near future due to plans to equip it with new hypersonic missiles. Missiles capable at moving over five times the speed of sound, possibly much faster, would significantly enhance both the range and the firepower of the Pantsir, making it potentially lethal at far greater distances against both ground and aerial targets. While the system is currently restricted to striking targets at distances of just twenty kilometres, hypersonic missiles are set to more than triple this to at least 60km - making the Pantsir a medium range rather than a short range platform. Such systems will also allow the Pantsir to serve more effectively in an offensive capacity, while its range increase will also reduce the number of units required to provide an area defence. With the latest hypersonic missiles platforms able to maneuver in unpredictable patterns even at high velocities, the danger posed by the Pantsir to enemy platforms will be far greater in should it be equipped with such systems. 

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