Russian Pantsir Air Defense System- Sitting duck or Top Dog?

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Russian Pantsir air defense system (ADS) has been much maligned in the war zones of Syria and Libya as having been shot down by Turkish drones and Israeli jets. However, its manufacturers tout its impressive performance in protecting a Russian airbase in Syria against repeated drone attacks.

Nearly ten Pantsirs operated by the Libyan National Army (LNA) led by renegade commander Khalifa Haftar have been reportedly destroyed during May-June 2020.  One Syrian Pantsir ADS was reportedly destroyed by an Israeli jet this January after its operator left behind a mobile phone which enabled the system to be tracked. In May 2018, another Pantsir ADS deployed in Syria is said to have taken a “direct hit” from a missile launched by Israeli fighter jets.

On the other hand, KBP Instrument Design Bureau that manufactures the Pantsir ADS, claimed it destroyed some 100 drones around the world in the past few years. Referring to a specific incident, Pantsir-S combined with electronic warfare system brought down 13 UAVs when a drone swarm attacked the Hymeimim air base in Syria during January 2018. discussed the Pantsir system – its history, potential, market outlook, combat experience and future – with Ruslan Pukhov, director of the Centre for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies, the foremost independent Russian authority in the military and strategic issues.