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Russia is enhancing its counter-drone capabilities. The current variants of the Pantsir-S1 are effective against both large and small unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), including quadcopters.
The export-oriented Pantsir-S1 (NATO name: SA-22 Greyhound) is a self-propelled anti-aircraft gun-missile (SPAAGM) system improved with anti-drone capacity.
In January, Designer General of the Pantsir-S1-family SPAAGMs Valery Slugin told TASS that the system had been modified to engage compact UAVs. The updated modification of the SPAAGM was capable of engaging even the DJI Phantom drone.The system had some 100 destroyed UAVs in its combat record, as reported by armyrecognition.com.
The system was capable of engaging UAVs already at its initial stage in the mid-2000s. However, the drones of that period were large medium-to-high-speed targets with large radar cross-sections. The Greyhound was good at shooting down such unmanned vehicles, posing a substantial threat to reconnaissance drones.
Since the early 2000s, the development of UAVs has received a large impetus. The drones have turned into compact (and even sub-compact) aerial platforms that are capable of carrying both intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) subsystems and small weapons.
However, the Pantsir-S1 has not stood idle: the system has passed through three large upgrades at least. In 2019, KBP presented a new kid on the Greyhound’s block – the Pantsir-S1M (or SM) SPAAGM. The system received a fully rebuilt sensor suite and a more powerful radar. The KAMAZ-6560 was replaced by Remdizel’s Tornado K-53958 8×8 wheeled chassis with a heavily protected crew cabin.
In 2019. Russia also unveiled a tracked modification of the Pantsir-S1 that retains the baseline model’s armament suite.
The Pantsir-S1 is widely reported to be a combat-effective air defense system: in April 2018, Syrian Greyhounds shot down 23 of 25 cruise missiles launched by the combat aircraft of the US-led coalition.
According to the Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD), the Pantsir-S SPAAGM deployed at Humaymim airbase (Latakia province, Syria) had destroyed 16 improvised unmanned combat aerial vehicles (UCAVs) by late December 2017.