TechUkrainian forces strike key Russian anti-aircraft unit with drones

Ukrainian forces strike key Russian anti-aircraft unit with drones

Pantsir-S1, illustrative picture
Pantsir-S1, illustrative picture
Images source: © X, @front_ukrainian
9:20 AM EST, March 1, 2024
Russian media was the first to report on this attack, but it was soon confirmed by Ukrainian intelligence. They disclosed that the Pantsyr-S1 fell victim to kamikaze drones in a succinct announcement. The operation took place in the Belgorod Oblast, a region in the southwestern part of Russia that shares borders with the Ukrainian oblasts of Sumy, Kharkiv, and Luhansk. A brief video capturing the attack surfaced on social media platforms soon after.
Introduced in the 1990s, the Pantsyr-S1 symbolizes one of the more advanced pieces of military hardware utilized by the Russians. It serves a dual role both on Russian soil and in the conflict in Ukraine, notably tasked with safeguarding the skies of Moscow and the vicinity of Vladimir Putin's Sochi residence.

Attack on the Russian Pantsir-S1

This ground-based air defense mechanism specializes in short to medium-range engagements. Its launchers, typically mounted on wheeled (and less frequently, tracked) vehicles—and occasionally ships—house 12 anti-aircraft missiles, either the 57E6 or the 57E6-E variations. These missiles empower the system to intercept targets within a 12-mile range and at altitudes reaching up to 9 miles.

A prized asset in Russian air defense

Moreover, the system's operators have access to automatic 2A38M cannons of 30 mm caliber, capable of discharging up to 2500 rounds per minute and engaging targets up to approximately 2.5 miles away.
Notably automated, the Pantsyr-S1's primary mission is to defend key locations or assets against aerial threats, though it possesses the capability to engage lightly armored ground targets as well. Thanks to its onboard radars, the system boasts efficient target detection capabilities, spotting potential threats from roughly 19 miles away.
The instance detailed above isn't the first time Ukrainian forces have managed to hit a Pantsyr-S1 system. Indeed, in January of this year, kamikaze drones attacked the Scheglovsky Val factories in Russia, a significant site where these anti-aircraft defense systems, among others, are produced.
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