Russia upgraded the Tor-M2 air defense system into a “killer” to destroy UAVs

According to Russian arms corporation Almaz-Antey, one of the main goals of the upgrade is to make the Tor-M2 more effective against unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

Effective anti-UAV

Russia will “strongly” modify and upgrade its Tor-M2 short range air defense missile system . This is the plan that was announced by the arms manufacturing corporation Almaz-Antey in early September.

Almaz-Antey said it plans to radically upgrade all key features of the system – both combat and operations, but declined to provide details on the modernization process.

The Tor air defense system is designed to protect tank units and motorized infantry, its missiles can hit targets at a radius of 12 km and an altitude of 10 km. In particular, the process of detecting, classifying and searching for targets is carried out completely automatically, the operator only needs to press the button to fire.

According to Almaz-Antey, one of the main purposes of the upgrade is to make Tor more effective against drones. The developer has increased the armament of the Tor-M2 air defense system (from 8 to 16 specialized missiles) and created a new radar that helps it detect the smallest targets in the air.

“Current missiles are too expensive to carry out such missions. So the company is working on creating an affordable small missile to defeat unmanned aerial vehicles. The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict in 2020 shows that anti-UAV weapons are essential in a modern war,” said Ivan Konovalov, Development Director of the Foundation for the Promotion of 21st Century Technology (Russia).

Ivan Konovalov noted that Azerbaijan has used a lot of bomb-carrying drones to destroy Armenian armored vehicles as well as defense systems against bombers and fighters, causing Chaos for the enemy’s ranks.

“Before a conflict, no military really accurately assessed the danger that drones posed. Now, everything is clear. Therefore, Russia needs to improve its ability to neutralize the potential of UAVs on the battlefield.

Sharing the same view, Independent Military Review Editor-in-Chief Dmitry Safonov said: “Shooting down a drone is one of the essential elements of the latest ‘Zapad 2021’ military exercise of the country. Russia. This time, the Pantsir-M1 air defense system shot them down with artillery shells and the Russian military commanders demanded that other short-range air defense systems (i.e. Tor-M2) also have the same ability. to eliminate such a target,” added Mr. Ivan Konovalov.

Why does Tor-M2 need this capability?

While the Tor-M2 anti-aircraft missile system is installed on a crawler chassis, the Pantsir-M1 system is installed on a wheeled chassis. The Tor-M2 was originally built to support and protect troops in their marches, as the track’s tracks give it the ability to overcome any natural obstacles, such as border areas, rough roads, and rugged terrain.

Safonov said: “Tor-M2 went to the front line with the infantry because it was able to flatten obstacles, while the Pantsir-M2 had to retreat because it did not have the ability to go through the jungle in exercises”.

He emphasized that an air defense system that accompanies infantry units in the first line of defense needs to be able to shoot down small aerial targets with airborne weapons. Especially if the UAV is fitted with cluster bombs.

One of the upgrades made to the Tor air defense system that has been publicly announced so far is the transition to a modular structure. Simply put, system components can be custom assembled. The missile launcher and internal radar can be mounted on any vehicle and shoot down targets from above.

“The Russian Ministry of Defense has tested Tor on one of the newest warships. They also installed the system on the helicopter to test whether it is capable of shooting down air or sea targets. As far as I know, the officials were satisfied with the test results,” Safonov said.

Foreign competitors

Military experts say that it is difficult to find an air defense system similar to Tor-M2 abroad.

“Tor-M2 is capable of shooting down targets at a 360-degree field of view around it, while other air defense systems (such as the American Patriot) can only detect targets at an angle of view of 180 degrees. degree,” said Konovalov.

“Besides, the Tor system is also more mobile. It can shoot down targets on the move, whereas the Patriot has to stop and prepare for a battle. That will make it take longer to hit the target.” However, the limitation of Tor-M2 is that it can only hit targets 16km away, while the Patriot’s range is up to 180km.

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