Serial ZRPK "Pantsir-S1" of one of the combat units of the Russian army. Photo of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation
Last year, the Russian industry for the first time showed the promising Pantsir-SM anti-aircraft missile-gun system. It was also announced the creation of its export modification called "Pantsir-S1M". In the near future, it was planned to conduct all the necessary tests and then sign contracts for the supply of such equipment to the Russian army and foreign countries. It was planned to attract the attention of old and new customers by increasing the main characteristics.
For the army and for the market
Work on the further improvement of the Pantsir-S1 air defense missile system, aimed at increasing the main parameters, became known back in the mid-tenths. Then it was reported that the modernized complex will receive new electronic means and an improved missile, which will increase the detection and destruction range, as well as the likelihood of intercepting targets.
The ready-made Pantsir-SM complex was first shown at the Army-2019 forum. Last year, at the Victory Parade, such an air defense missile system was demonstrated in a modified configuration and with a new weapons... The achieved capabilities and tactical and technical characteristics were also announced. It was reported that in the coming years, the ZRPK will pass all the necessary checks and will be adopted by the Russian army.
Within the framework of the Army-2020 forum, it became known about the imminent start of sales of new air defense missile systems to foreign countries. The Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation reported that back in 2019, several foreign armies showed interest in the export Pantsir-S1M. Moreover, demonstration firing was carried out for them in closed mode.
As a result of these events, the FSMTC was expected to receive real orders for new equipment. In addition, several requests were received regarding the possibility of upgrading the export "Pantsir-C1" to the state of "C1M". The organization-developer of the complex worked on this topic.
Pantsir-SM at Army-2020. Photo by Rostec
The export plans of the Russian industry are beginning to be fulfilled. On August 24, Rosoboronexport announced that pre-contract work on Pantsir-S1M is currently underway with more than 10 potential buyers. These are mainly the countries of the Middle East and the Asia-Pacific region.
The very next day, on August 25, Rosoboronexport announced the conclusion of the first export contract for the modernized air defense missile system. At the same time, the customer country, the volumes of planned deliveries, the cost of products and other features of the agreement have not yet been disclosed.
Areas of modernization
In its basic configuration, Pantsir-S1 (E) is a short-range mobile land-based air defense missile system capable of detecting and hitting air targets at ranges up to 20 km and altitudes up to 15 km. The aim of the Pantsir-SM / S1M modernization project was to improve the main tactical and technical characteristics and obtain new combat capabilities. Such tasks were solved by replacing part of the elements of the complex, incl. means of destruction.
According to the results of the modernization carried out, "Pantsir-SM" is able to notice earlier various aerodynamic targets of different classes, as well as attack and hit them at increased distances. Due to the improvement of electronic equipment and weapons, an effective fight is ensured both with aircraft or aviation means of destruction, and with small-sized UAVs.
The general architecture of the modernized air defense missile system remains the same. A compatible four-axle chassis or trailer accommodates a large container with all fixed assets and assemblies, incl. with a rotating turret equipped with radar, cannons and launchers. At the same time, the composition of the equipment of the Russian "Pantsir-SM" and the export "Pantsir-S1M" differs significantly.
"Pantsir-SM" (foreground) with new weapons and serial "Pantsir-C1" (rear) on Red Square, June 24, 2020. Photo by the Russian Ministry of Defense
During the modernization, the standard radars were replaced. The SM project uses a new detection station capable of detecting an air target (EPR not specified) at a distance of 75 km. The new tracking and guidance station, located between the cannons and launchers, provides targets for operation at ranges up to 40 km and altitudes up to 18 km. The block of optoelectronic equipment for observation and guidance has been modernized.
The updated air defense missile system for the Russian army retains the ability to use two-stage bicaliber short-range anti-aircraft missiles 57E6E. With the help of radio command guidance, such a product can hit targets at ranges up to 20 km and altitudes up to 15 km. Also, a new SAM has been developed with a range of 40 km and an altitude of 18 km. The two launchers still carry up to 12 missiles. The artillery unit has not changed and includes a pair of 2A38M double-barreled cannons with 1400 rounds of ammunition.
Last year, "Pantsiri-SM" was demonstrated with a reduced composition of the "main" missiles: the upper extreme positions on the launchers were given over to blocks of small-sized missiles. As reported, a small-sized light missile defense system with a range of 20 km has been developed specifically for the Pantsir-SM. With its help, it is proposed to destroy small targets for which other missiles are redundant. In place of one "large" rocket, a container with four lightweight ones is placed.
The Army-2021 demonstrates the Pantsir-S1M complex, which has significant differences from the previously shown SM product. So, instead of a new detection radar, a product of the old 1PC1-1E model is used. In addition, only TPK "full-size" missiles are mounted on the launchers. Probably, the export appearance of the complex does not provide for bringing the detection range to 70-75 km and expanding combat capabilities in the near zone. At the same time, "Pantsir-S1M" can use a new missile defense system with a range of 40 km.
Way to the troops
According to the latest reports, "Pantsir-SM" is still undergoing the necessary tests, but in the near future the army will decide the issue of adopting it. Apparently, the new modification of the air defense missile system will supplement and then replace the existing vehicles in the troops. Due to this, important objects of civil and military infrastructure will receive more effective protection against all modern threats.
Export "Pantsir-S1M". The machine simultaneously has the features of the "C1" and "SM" complexes. Photo by Rosoboronexport
The situation with the export modification "Pantsir-S1M" looks no less interesting. It is reported about negotiations with a dozen foreign countries, one of which has already placed an order for the supply of equipment. Apparently, new contracts will follow soon. It is curious that they can provide for both the supply of new production combat vehicles, and deep modernization of existing products - depending on the wishes and capabilities of the customer.
Current events fully confirm the assumptions of past years. From the very beginning, it was believed that the modernized version of the complex would interest foreign armies and would definitely find its place on the market. Such forecasts, among other things, were based on the commercial success of the base "Pantsir-C1".
To date, export ZRPK Pantsir-S1E have been delivered to eight foreign countries. In addition, one of the foreign customers re-exported such equipment to Libya. Russian-made complexes are actively used in several current conflicts and clearly demonstrate their capabilities. In all situations, an effective solution to the assigned tasks is ensured - it can only be hindered by the use of ammunition or gross calculation errors.
It should be assumed that foreign countries that already have an export "Pantsir-S1" in one or another version, will want to purchase and modernized "S1M". In addition, following their example, other countries interested in improving their air defense can also acquire a new air defense system.
Modernity and prospects
The development of the Pantsir line of anti-aircraft missile-gun systems continues and constantly leads to new interesting results. New modifications of equipment appear with certain innovations intended for deliveries to the Russian army or abroad. In the near future, two new versions of the ZRPK will reach mass production at once and will go to the troops.
Thus, "Pantsir" once again confirms the existence of a solid modernization potential, and the industry is actively using it - both in the interests of its own armed forces and for making money on the international market. The desired results have already been achieved in both directions, and it is clear that these trends will continue in the future.