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Modified TOR-M2 air defense missile system uses to protect Russian oil and gas infrastructures

Russia’s Tor-M2 (NATO reporting name: SA-15 Gauntlet) short-range surface-to-air missile (SAM) system has been modified for safe use at the pieces of oil and gas infrastructure, which are prone to fire, an industrial source told TASS on June 19, 2020.
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Russian army Tor-M2 air defense missile system. (Picture source Vitaly Kuzmin)

“To meet the requirements of oil and gas producers, the launching unit of the Tor SAM system has been deeply upgraded. A missile starts its engine only after having been pushed to a height of some 20 m. Thus, a missile launch poses no threat to oil and gas extraction and refinement facilities,” said the source.

According to him, the Tor-M2 family of short-range air defense (SHORAD) weapons now comprises several systems, with the Tor-M2KM being offered as a point SHORAD unit. “One could note that the Tor-M2KM is a self-propelled SAM system that is carried by a heavy truck. However, the primary task set before this SHORAD system is the point protection of sensitive facilities against all types of aerial threats,” said the source.

The Tor is among the air defense weapons that are highly demanded by African countries. “Russia demonstrated the current variant of the Tor to these states during the Russia-Africa summit held last October in Sochi”, the source added.

The Tor-M2KM short-range SAM system has been developed by the Izhevsk Electro-Mechanical Plant Kupol (IEMZ Kupol; a subsidiary of the concern Almaz-Antey). According to the manufacturer, the system provides round-the-clock protection against both fixed-/rotary-wing aircraft and air-launched weapons (including cruise missiles, anti-radiation weapons, guided and gliding bombs, and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). The system shields both state objects and industrial complexes, including oil and gas storages, sea-banks, various power stations, plants, large bridges, railroad stations, airports, sea and river vessels, etc. The Tor-M2KM’s combat module (CM) can be transported by either medium/heavy transport fixed-wing aircraft or heavy helicopters.

The CM integrates a target detection system, a guidance system with two autonomous missile guidance channels, a round-the-clock backup optical-electronic subsystem, and communications assets. The module is armed with up to eight ready-use missiles in two four-cell canisters. The manufacturer claims that a CM protects a 700 km2 area against aerodynamic targets and a 150 km2 area — against high-precision weapons; when a four-unit Tor-M2KM battery is employed, these figures increase to 1,250 km2 and 450 km2, respectively.

Russia largely invests in the development of the Tor SHORAD weapon family. In mid-June, Commander of the Russian Armed Forces’ tactical air defense Lieutenant-General Alexander Leonov told the magazine National Defense that a variant of the Tor-M2 on an amphibious chassis was being developed.

According to Leonov, the Tor-family systems have shown good operational experience in Syria. “Since the beginning of its combat duty, the vehicles destroyed more than 45 improvised UAVs,” he noted. The Russian military is set to receive new Tor-M2 and Tor-M2DT (the latter system is intended for the Arctic region — TASS) vehicles through 2027, said the general.

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Russian Tor-M2 air defense missile system mounted on an 8×8 wheeled prototype chassis that had been developed by the Bryansk Automotive Plant (Picture source Twitter Missiles.Ru)

At the Army 2019 defense show, Almaz-Antey unveiled a Tor-M2 SAM system based on an 8×8 wheeled prototype chassis that had been developed by the Bryansk Automotive Plant (BAZ, a subsidiary of Almaz-Antey).

IEMZ Kupol is reported to be developing a marinized modification of the Tor. The system, which is designated Tor-MF, is said to break its cover in the early 2020s.

There are at least two known wheeled options of the Tor-M2KM carrier: the system is transported by an Indian-made TATA 8×8 truck or a KAMAZ-6350 automotive vehicle. However, the CM can be carried by almost all heavy trucks, for instance, MAN SX45.

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