The Russians are promoting the Pancyr anti-aircraft system. In an interview with TASS, the main armament designer argued that Pancyry were adapted to combat small drones and unguided missile.
An extensive interview with TASS revealed details of work to increase the capabilities of the Pancyr short-range self-propelled anti-aircraft missile system. These works included, among others introduction of completely new types of rockets: hyper-sonic and cheap. They are specially adapted to combat unmanned aerial vehicles.
The “Pancyr” set has always been advertised by the Russians as a modern and effective short range anti-aircraft system. That is why he was sent to Syria from time to time to ensure the security of the Russian expeditionary corps stationed there. During the fighting, however, information appeared that “Pancyr” “have problems in fighting small air targets, such as guided ammunition and air drones.
This is probably why the manufacturer of these anti-aircraft sets the company “AO Konstruktorskoje Biuro proborostrojenija ” (belonging to the state corporation “Rostiech”) decided to disclose a bit more details about the modernization work being undertaken to increase the combat capabilities of the anti-aircraft sets offered.
In an interview with the TASS agency, the chief designer of “Pancyr” Walierij Sługin told, among others about work on new, hypersonic anti-aircraft rockets and a new vehicle, which has the possibility of taking more ammunition. However, Sługin denied that the anti-aircraft sets he developed had trouble fighting drones including the smallest ones, moving slowly and with a very small, effective reflection surface.
Unmanned aerial vehicles were from the very beginning one of the types of targets with which “Pancyr” was to fight. Służin only admitted that when the complex was being created, the drones were fast and large reflecting radio-location like a small plane. However, according to him, the “Pancyr” radars are also to cope with small drone, flying at low speeds and at low altitudes, where strong reflections from the earth’s surface occur. What’s more, the Russians do not see other systems in the world that would be able to combat such small drones as the “Phantom” commonly available in stores. And according to them he is able not only to conduct reconnaissance, but also to terrorist activities (after hanging a small explosive charge under it).
Especially for the elimination of such threats, the Russians improved the “Pancyr” detection system for very small targets, as well as introduced a new missile that “has no self-guiding head, only the impact part. If the vehicle’s radar sees the target, then we initiate the explosion of the combat part on the path of a tracked drone, and its field of shards will definitely cover.”
Służin, strongly emphasized that drones are not the most important goal for “Pancyr”. These sets have also been adapted to combat non-guided “ground-to-ground” rockets, soaring bombs, maneuvering rockets, tactical ballistic missiles and supersonic rockets. This wide range of targets is to be fought by two types of anti-aircraft missiles. The first of them, the 57E6 is a “standard” rocket launched with the “Pancyr” set with a range of 20 km, speed 500 m/s and a 20 kg forced fragmentation warhead.
The second, new missile (probably type 57E6M) is to have an increased range up to 30 km, a 5 kg heavier combat part (which automatically gives more debris) and a hypersonic speed of 1700 m/s (more than five times the speed of sound). Thanks to it, the target is hit faster and the guidance system channel is released faster (which is especially important when attacking many objects at the same time). However, the new missile still did not use a self-guiding warhead, considering that with such a short range, remote control from a combat vehicle is sufficient.
The Russians also confirmed that research is ongoing on the third type of anti-aircraft missiles for “Pancyr”, of small size and relatively cheap. In this case, designers do not care about the speed and range, because it is about combating slow-flying and technologically sophisticated targets. They are destroyed by “Pancyr” in the so-called close zone (at distances of not more than 7 km), so it is not profitable for them to use rockets that can attack objects flying four times further. In this case, it is necessary to have a rocket ammunition that is cheap and cheap, which is currently missing.
The set includes 12 spare anti-aircraft missiles and 1,400 missiles for two 30mm double-barreled guns. The Russians estimate that this allows you to fight over 20 flying targets, which may not be enough with current ways of organizing air attacks. With the introduction of smaller missiles, they can be mounted on Pancyr four times more than today. This will automatically increase the number of destructible targets for one ammo supply.
In order not to make any mechanical changes, Sługin revealed that it was decided that the new “small-size” shells would have the same length as the standard, but smaller diameter. Thanks to this, four rockets could fit into one currently used container. Changes in the “Pancyr” set would therefore only apply to software (the same command guidance system would also be kept). The Russian, however, did not want to reveal when the new rockets will become available in the sets. He merely stated that “the development, production and testing of new missiles will take, I think, over three to four years.”
In the meantime, a new mode of action is also to be introduced allowing the increase in the amount of ammunition available at one time by including also transport and loading vehicles. Their standard task is to replenish the supply of used anti-aircraft rockets, but the Russians want such a transport vehicle to also be able to fire transported missiles. However, it would not have a homing system and the missile would be guided by the nearby “Pancyr” set. The idea is attractive because transport and loading vehicles could fire even 24 “standard” missiles in this way.
The combat module of the “Pancyr” set will still have the same configuration as before. The only exception was the “Arctic” version, which has ten rockets on each side and no 30mm guns. However, this configuration was requested by the Russian Ministry of Defense, although its implementation was a more difficult task than the installation of a standard weapon module.
Służin also explained that there are no plans to replace two double 30mm caliber cannons with a larger caliber artillery 57mm system . This solution was used, among others on the self-propelled set “Dieriwacja-PWO”. In the case of “Pancyr”, however, there is no need to increase the caliber range, because currently used rockets and cannons provide the opportunity to combat air targets from zero to 30 km.
“Tor” self-propelled sets.
Interview for the TASS agency also served Sużin to clarify “alleged” rumors about the ineffectiveness of the “Pancyr” during operations in Syria, which forced, among others Russians to move there “Tor” self-propelled sets. Służin emphasized that specialists of the Russian Federation air force have a clear opinion that “Pancyr” has proven itself well in combat. This is actually the only complex in Russia that now has such experience in hostilities.
The Russian revealed that during the fights already over a hundred unmanned aerial vehicles were shot down with this set. He also admitted that when the terrorists hung ten makeshift minibombs under the drones, the Pancur radar watched this kind of threat very well. Later, Islamic fighters reduced the number of bombs to two, as well as reduced the speed of unmanned aerial vehicles. To remedy this, Russian engineers introduced changes to the radar system as well as to the anti-aircraft missiles themselves.
Służin also referred to a video published by the Israeli Ministry of Defense at the time of the destruction of the Syrian “Pancyr” set. The Russian explained that the Syrian crew had “managed to hit eight targets earlier and just had no rockets left. The combat crew left the car and stood nearby waiting for the loading-transport car with new ammunition. One of the combat crew, as seen in the movie, was running apparently he had a phone in the car. It was necessary to immediately withdraw the combat vehicle from the place after the ammunition was fired, immediately, then everything would end well. “
The interview also acknowledged that during the battle, the “Pancyr” system mainly uses rockets, trying to prevent the targets from being in the cannon fire zone. Only when the air object is less than 1.5 km away is the artillery subsystem used.
Therefore, cannons are treated primarily as self-defense weapons, protecting sets against e.g. drones, as well as against enemy vehicles (such cases were also to be noted in Syria with a positive result). Służin recalled that the rockets on the “Pancyr” sets can also be used against ground targets. It is, for example, possible to shoot vessels located at a distance of even 10 km from the shore.