Russia’s Pantsyr-S anti-aircraft missile-gun system has been equipped with a new Mach 5 hypersonic missile making its substantially more lethal than systems having only subsonic missiles.
“The new missile approaches the target more quickly, which increases the system’s rate of fire because the firing channel is freed faster,” Chief Designer for Air Defense Systems at the Shipunov Design Bureau Valery Slugin told TASS today.
"In addition, there is no need to load a large amount of explosives into the missile’s warhead for the fragments’ dispersal: the higher the impact speed, the greater the fragments’ efficiency," the chief designer said in an interview to TASS.
"There are two missiles that fight the entire range of targets. One is standard while the other has been developed recently and is hypersonic: it can develop a speed of Mach 5 and more," the chief designer said.
The Russian Pantsir-S air defense missile system took down some 100 drones around the world over the course of its service, Valery Slugin continued. There are two Pantsir-S divisions deployed in Syria: the Russian one, located at Hmeimim airbase, and a Syrian one.
Terrorist drones rigged with explosively repeatedly used to attack the Hmeimim base, gave the system “some trouble,” he said.
"Initially, the terrorists tied up to 10 bombs to their drones, which made them perfectly visible on a radar. Later, they reduced the ordnance number to just two, and significantly reduced the drone’s speed. We had to apply some effort to teach the systems how to take down such targets," the designer said in comments quoted by TASS.
According to the Russian Ministry of Defense, the last attempt to attack Hmeimim base with drones happened on January 19. All aerial targets were destroyed at a safe distance from the Russian base (using the Pantsir-S system).
Pantsir-S system is armed with 12 guided missiles and two 30mm auto-cannons. The latter are used only if the enemy projectile escapes the missiles and comes close enough; but that does not happen often, Valery Slugin said.