November 16, 2013
Tests of a new missile for the advanced version of the Russian air defense system Tor-M2 proved it is capable of shooting down challenging targets with amazing precision, hitting moving missiles head-on, Russian arms manufacturer Almaz-Antey revealed.
In an attempt to push the limits of modern missile defense systems, Russian military design bureaus Almaz-Antey and Vympel NPO (now part of Tactical Missiles Corporation) have jointly developed the new 9M338 surface-to-air missile.
Tested with the latest Tor-M2 missile system, the new weapon displayed remarkable precision. It destroyed three of its moving targets head-on.
“We fired five missiles at very difficult targets [highly maneuverable target drones Saman], and three of the targets were shot down by direct missile-against-missile hits, that is, head-on. This is an excellent result, an amazing precision,” Sergey Druzin, head of research and development at Almaz-Antey, told RIA Novosti.
Druzin called the result “unique,” adding that the other two targets were destroyed by shrapnel from exploding warheads. Shooting down air targets this way is how most modern defense systems work. Scoring guaranteed direct hits at maneuverable missiles has eluded even the most advanced military technologies.
The outstanding 9M338 is thus “a result of a very hard and long work,” Druzin said.
Another advantage of the new missile is its small size, which has allowed the increase of Tor-M2 ammunition from 8 to 16 rounds.
“We can say now that a unique air defense system in its class with an astounding precision and range has been created. Its performance surpasses all planned parameters,” Druzin concluded.
According to the official, the improved Tor-M2 system with 9M338 missiles has been approved by a state commission for mass production for the Russian Army. The advanced version of the system was unveiled by Almaz-Antey on Thursday, and also features an extended firing range.
But according to Druzin, the system could be improved even further – by eliminating the launcher’s stop time when it’s ready to fire a missile.
“The mobile launcher currently stops for two or three seconds to launch a missile, but it could be done on a move, without stopping,” the official explained.
The Tor system is a low- to medium-altitude, short-range surface-to-air missile system designed to intercept aircraft, cruise missiles, precision-guided munitions, unmanned aerial vehicles, and ballistic targets.
Tor-M1 and Tor-M2U models, armed with 9M331 missiles, are currently in service with the Russian army.