Russian Pantsir-S1 Air Defense System Modified to Shoot Down HIMARS Rocket

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  • 07:49 AM, January 25, 2023
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Russian Pantsir-S1 Air Defense System Modified to Shoot Down HIMARS Rocket
Pantsir-S1 air defense system @Russia MoD

Russia’s Pantsir-S1 air defense system has received new software to intercept U.S.-made HIMARS rockets.

"We fulfill the objectives of shielding military facilities, and also civilian infrastructure. The vehicle’s specific feature is its 360-degree vew capability to engage many types of aerial targets: aircraft, helicopters, MLRS, and also drones," Pantsir-S1 rocket launcher commander with the call sign Baron from Russia’s Western Military District said on Wednesday.

"This vehicle can operate during a march and on the move. We shot down various types of targets: both Bayraktar drones and Tochka-U [ballistic missiles]. A HIMARS is an altitude target and has its ballistics. Due to its high speed, it is necessary to react quickly to make a decision. These [Pantsir] vehicles have been upgraded to engage this target," the commander said in a video released by Russia’s Defense Ministry.

Pantsir’s detection capabilities enable operators to spot both large moving objects in the sky, such as cruise and ballistic missiles, helicopters, aircraft or Soviet and Western MLRS projectiles, and quite small targets, for example, 30x30 cm drones, which the enemy often employs for reconnoitering terrain and carrying out kamikaze missions.

The Pantsir is also outfitted with a thermal imager and, therefore, anti-aircraft gunners can also detect if explosives with striking elements are attached to the plastic casing of these flying craft. It is capable of spotting and tracking tens of targets. It is armed with 12 surface-to-air missiles and two coaxial anti-aircraft guns with a maximum fire rate of 5,000 rounds per minute.

High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) rockets in Ukraine

The U.S. first provided Ukraine with long-range HIMARS rockets in June 2022; they offered roughly twice the range of the weaponry that Kyiv were previously using. They are very effective for attacking stationary targets such as infrastructure and troops in a concentrated area.

HIMARS rockets have been credited by the Ukrainians in helping them ward off Russia's offensive in Donbas by striking Russian supply and ammunition depots. They were also crucial in forcing Russia to withdraw from Kherson.

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