Myanmar orders troubled Russian Pantsir-S1 air defense system

Russian state media reported on Friday that Myanmar’s Armed Forces has ordered a once formidable Pantsir-S1 (NATO reporting name SA-22 Greyhound) air defense system.

The Russian state-run TASS news agency said the agreement was signed at a ceremony attended by Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu, who is in Myanmar on an official visit, and the Commander-in-Chief of Myanmar’s armed forces, Min Aung Hlaing. Russia’s Deputy Defense Minister Alexander Fomin inked the agreement for Russia.

The Pantsir-S1 mobile surface-to-air missile (SAM) system is Russia’s premier point air defense complex which has been heavily criticized in recent years.

Truck-mounted Pantsir-S1 air-defense systems feature both short-range surface-to-air missiles and 30mm automatic cannons and designed to defend ground installations against a variety of weapons including fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters, ballistic and cruise missiles, precision-guided munitions and unmanned air vehicles.

According to the CSIS Missile Defense Project, the baseline Pantsir system can engage tactical aircraft at a maximum range of 20 km and altitude of 10 km, subsonic cruise missiles at a range of 12 km and altitude of 6 km, and high-speed air-to-ground missiles at a range of 7 km and altitude of 6 km.

However, real combat experience in Syria, Yemen and Libya showed that the Pantsir complex couldn’t cope with targets such as the Turkish Bayraktar TB2 unmanned aerial vehicles.

At least 8 Russian-made Russian-supplied Pantsir-S1 self-propelled combined gun-missile systems destroyed in shellings in Syria’s Idlib province, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan claimed last year.

In addition, earlier in May 2019, the source in the Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, the Russian Army and Navy are dissatisfied with the Pantsir complex and looking on absolute new air defense systems.

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