Russian TOR-M2 air defense missile system shows high effectiveness against Ukrainian drones | Ukraine – Russia conflict war 2022


Citing information published by Russian news agency TASS on July 8, 2022, Russian air defense systems deployed in the Lugansk People’s Republic (LPR) effectively cover the airspace in their area of ​​responsibility. Stacks of Tor-M2 (NATO reporting name: SA-15 Gauntlet) Air defense missile systems play an important role in intercepting adversary unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), planes and helicopters day and night.
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Russian Tor-M2 air defense missile systems are used to counter Ukrainian drones. (Russian Defense Ministry image source)

Citing information from the Russian journalist Alexander Stepanov, the Russian military highly values ​​the performance characteristics of the Tor-M2 air defense missile system. LPR Battery Commander Vladislav called it “the best short-range system in the world”, highly valuing its reliability, ease of use and combat effectiveness.

The battery shot down over 100 air targets. These are mainly drones, including Turkish-made Bayraktar strike drones. According to Vladislav, it is not difficult for the air defense military to detect a Bayraktar drone due to its rather large size. Their main task is to destroy the Bayraktar from the maximum distance before it can launch a long-range missile.

As Vladislav said, enemy air targets are intercepted in conjunction with crews of other weapons, such as Buk-M2 (NATO code name SA-17 Grizzly) and S-300 (NATO code name SA-10 Grumble) air defense systems.

“If it [the drone] does not enter our area of ​​​​engagement, then we pass information about the Bayraktar to nearby units for its subsequent elimination… If we do not shoot it down, then more powerful systems, namely S-300 and Buk, intervene . The interaction is established. There are times when they assign us their targets not to shoot down drones with long-range missiles,” the officer said.

In addition to Bayraktar drones, Ukrainian troops use Furia and Leleka reconnaissance drones, as well as quadrotors. “As for the quadcopters, we try to intercept them not with a missile, but with small arms. Or we transfer them to Pantsir complex crews (NATO code named SA-22 Greyhound), who hunt them down and then shoot them down with their weapons,” Vladislav noted.

According to the commander of the Russian army battery, the reduction of the Ukrainian drone fleet has influenced the tactics of the Ukrainian troops. If at the beginning of the operation, the Ukrainian military launched several drones at once, without masking them, now they “try to save their drones and do not use them over long distances”.

“They started to examine what kind of air defense systems cover our troops before launching Bayraktar drones,” the officer said, adding that the Russian air defense military found ways to fool these drones.

According to the Russian military officer, a low-flying helicopter is the toughest target for Tor systems. “It is not easy to follow the helicopter automatically, because it flies at a very low altitude and the terrain remains invisible,” explains Vladislav. As the Russian officer said, enemy helicopters actively maneuver following the terrain. The air defense soldier literally has a fraction of a second, when the helicopter appears on the radar, during which the firing decision must be made. Vladislav’s battery has already shot down two Ukrainian helicopters.

The Tor-M2 is a short-range air defense missile system produced by the Kupol Electromechanical Plant in Izhevsk (part of the Almaz-Antey Group). The weapon protects the first echelons of ground formations against anti-radar and cruise missiles, hovering aerial bombs, aircraft, helicopters, drones, including drone swarms.

The system can monitor the airspace and automatically drop all air targets not identified by the friendly or enemy system. The complex has 16 vertically launched missiles with a range of 12 kilometers (7.4 miles) and an altitude of up to 10 km (6.2 miles). Improved radar can detect stealth aircraft.

One of the latest versions, i.e. the Tor-M2U, simultaneously detects and tracks more than 40 targets and attacks four of them with four consecutively launched missiles. The advanced version is the Tor-M2KM. In addition, the system has an arctic version, the Tor-M2DTbased on the DT-30 two-section tracked vehicle.


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