The United States would have repatriated for expertise a Russian Pantsir ground-to-air system neutralized by the Turks in Libya.
Spoils of War
On June 18, 2020, videos broadcast on social networks show the capture of a Russian Pantsir S1/SA-22 "Greyhound" anti-aircraft defense system on an 8 × 8 MAN SX45 chassis. This capture was carried out by men of the GNA (Government of National Accord) of Fayez el-Sarraj and Turkish mercenaries, opposed to Marshal Haftar, commander of the ANL (Libyan National Army) based in Tobruk. According to the Libyan government, this combat system captured on the base of Al Watiya would have been implemented by the mercenaries of the Wagner group, then abandoned in the face of the advance of the GNA supported by the Turkish drones Bayraktar TB2. Although damaged by the violent fighting, this SA-22 remains an extremely valuable source of information. Its last public appearance dates back to June 20, 2020, when it was displayed on a tank carrier during a military parade in Tripoli.
According to information from the British daily newspaper "The Times", a C-17A Globemaster III was spotted at Zuwarah Air Force Base taking the Pantsir on its way to Ramstein Air Force Base in Germany. Despite the denials of the Pentagon spokeswoman, these methods are classic and several precedents are now well documented. Thus, taking advantage of the rift between Cairo and Moscow, the Pentagon had bought 4 Mig-23s from the Sadat government. After the retreat of Libyan forces into Chad, a Mi-25 "Hind" was captured intact by the French military and shipped back to the United States for analysis during Operation Mount Hope III in less than 67 hours.
Although many videos show the Pantsir-S1 in a bad position in front of Turkish drones in Libya, making it an easy target, this system is nonetheless a formidable device. Equipped with 12 56E6 missiles with a range of 20 kilometers up to 15,000 meters in altitude, a pair of 30mm 2A38M monotube cannons with an engagement distance of 200 to 4000 meters for an altitude of 0 to 300 meters. These weapons are coupled to the 1RS1-1 radar with active antenna allowing a detection at 35 kilometers and to the 1 RS2 radar with flat antenna allowing an engagement up to 20 kilometers. The "Greyhound" is a powerful and dissuasive weapon forcing aircraft to go around it. This SHORAD (Short Range Air Defence) system is currently in service in more than 13 countries. A new S1M version with a tenfold range, equipped with ZOUR anti-drone mini SAMs, was deployed in Syria and presented at the latest Russian Army 2020 show. You will find all the details in Air&Cosmos issue 2704.
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