Russia to Demonstrate Medium and Short Range AA Systems Against Cruise Missiles and UAVs at Army-2020

(Title Photo: Sergei Bobylev and TASS)

The Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Ground Forces laid out the plans for the Russian military’s participation in the Army-2020 expo in a recent press release. In addition to regular displays of ground combat equipment, Army-2020 is notable in that the Russian military plans to conduct a live-fire demonstration of various Surface-to-Air weapon systems.

The demonstrations are set to occur at the Alabino and Ashuluk firing ranges. The Alabino range is close to Patriot Park, where the bulk of the expo will take place. The Ashuluk range is distant, in Astrakhan Oblast. Live video from the firings at Ashuluk will be streamed to Alabino.

Two rounds of demonstrations are planned. The first will be anti-cruise missile, with the S300V4, Buk-M3, Tor-M2, and Pantsir-S. This will presumably take place at Ashuluk, as it is a larger range with the capacity to shoot cruise missiles. The setup of systems is analogous to what the Russian military would use in the field; the S300V4 is the “Army” version of the S300 system. Given that Tors and Pantsirs have faced off against cruise missile threats in Syria with mixed results, Russia may be attempting to affirm the performance of their systems for export customers with this demonstration.

A Russian Pantsir-S1 engages a target with its autocannons at the Slavic Shield 2019 military exercise (Russian MoD)

The second round of demonstration will be anti-UAV. Here, the Pantsir-S and Tunguska-M1 systems will be used, as well as the Kord 12.7×108mm heavy machine gun on the Typhoon armored car. Anti-UAV electronic warfare systems will also be demonstrated. This is implied to take place at Alabino, but it is possible that the missile and gun live firing may take place at Ashuluk with only the electronic warfare demonstration happening at Alabino.

As drones are quickly becoming dangerous threats, the demonstration of “traditional” low level AA systems against them seems timely. Noticeably, the Tunguska tracked Short Range Air Defense (SHORAD) system will be demonstrated. In export sales the Tunguska has largely been supplanted by the Pantsir, but it remains the primary mobile SHORAD for Russian Army units.