Russian military employs Pantsir-S SPAAGMs to engage ground targets

The Russian Armed Forces are now trained to operate the Pantsir-S self-propelled anti-aircraft gun-missile (SPAAGM) system (NATO reporting name: SA-22 Greyhound) against ground targets, according to the Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) : “The crews of Pantsir-S SPAAGMs of the Western Military District have practiced engaging light armored vehicles of a simulated enemy at the Ashuluk range in the Astrakhan Region,” said the MoD in a news release. The troops used 30 mm automatic guns to engage the targets.
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Pantsir-S firing its twin 30mm automatic guns (Picture source: Army Recognition)

Pantsir-S allows its operators to engage a wide range of targets. In January 2020, the 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. According to him, the Pantsir-S1 had some 100 destroyed UAVs in its combat record.

The initial variant of the Pantsir-S1 was unveiled in the mid-2000s, and even at that moment, the system was capable of engaging UAVs. 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 the are capable of carrying both intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) subsystems and small weapons.

However, the Pantsir-S1 has been improved: the system has passed through three large upgrades at least. In 2008, the SPAAGM’s developer, the Tula-based Instrument Design Bureau (KBP, a subsidiary of Rostec’s High-Precision Systems), unveiled the basic KAMAZ-6560-based Pantsir-S1 with a rotating search radar. By 2015, the Greyhound’s sensor suite was updated — the SPAAGM has received a pyramidic radar with two inclined arrays. Therefore, the system’s scanning area was doubled.

At the Army 2019 defense show held in Kubinka near Moscow, KBP presented a new kit on the Greyhound’s block — the Pantsir-S1M SPAAGM. The system received a fully rebuilt sensor suite and a more powerful radar. The KAMAZ-6560 was replaced by Remdizel 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. The SPAAGM has retained the baseline model’s armament suite.

Russia has also integrated the Greyhound into the hard-kill component of its new counter-UAV system.

On January 22, 2021, the Russian MoD reported that a contract for the delivery of Pantsir-S1s and other defense hardware had been signed with Myanmar. “Russia will deliver to Myanmar Pantsir-S1 SPAAGMs, unmanned aerial systems with Orlan-10E unmanned aerial vehicles, and radars,” the MoD was quoted by the TASS news agency as saying. The Russian-Myanmarese military-technical cooperation started in 2001. Since that time, Moscow has exported a number of air defense weapons, including eight upgraded Pechora-2M air defense systems, to the Southeast-Asian country.

Note of Army Recognition: the use of antiaircraft guns mounted on vehicles dates back to World War 2, when the Germans used different single/double/quadruple AA guns (20mm, 37mm and 88mm) against tanks and other ground targets during the Russian campaign. The U.S. Army did the same with its M16 half-tracks, which were nicknamed « meat chopper » when utilized against infantry and other troops on foot or in soft-skin vehicles, as the damage caused was a real slaughter.

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U.S. troops sitting on a captured German armored SdKfz 7/1 Flak Vierlingarmed with a quadruple 20mm gun (Picture source: U.S. NARA)

Army Recognition Global Defense and Security news

U.S. half-track M16 antiaircraft system (Maxon turret armed with four .50 machine guns)  used in the Pacific (Picture source: U.S. NARA)

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