Russia Sends Pantsir-SM Air Defence Systems to Ukraine
Pantsir-SM is the newest version of the Pantsir line of air defence systems. The main improvements include a new phased array radar that is ‘more effective against small targets’ and 57E6-E missiles. 57E6-E missiles, according to Russian officials, have a range of 30 km versus the baseline 57E6’s 20 km as well as a larger HE-FRAG warhead.
57E6 is a two-stage CLOS (Command Line-of-Sight) missile relying on high speed for interception, whereas most of its counterparts in the same range scale are fitted with IIR or RF seekers for the terminal phase.
While Pantsir-SM is claimed to be more effective against small UAVs, it doesn’t solidly address the core issues of the system in that regard.
The first of these issues is that the missiles still rely on CLOS guidance, requiring the operator to illuminate the targets with radar until the missile reaches the target. This might prove to be troublesome against attacks from multiple directions.
Secondly, 30 mm cannons aren’t effective against small UAVs, which are more likely to be encountered at short range with the current ammunition portfolio, which doesn’t include airburst or proximity fuse ammunition.