17 February 2019
By Dmitry Fediushko and Jean-Michel Guhl
Russia`s newest Pantsir-ME naval air defence (AD) system has been officially unveiled at the IDEX 2019 defence show & conference being held in Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates, on 17-21 February.
The Pantsir-ME is the only naval AD system that integrates artillery systems, missiles, and a command and control (C2) device into a single combat station. The new weapon features a multichannel C2 device and is designed to engage combat fixed-wing aircraft, helicopters, anti-ship missiles, and unmanned aerial vehicles. The Pantsir-ME can engage an aerial group that comprises up to four targets conducting a divided air attack. It should be mentioned that the system can be mounted on naval ships with a displacement of 300-500 tonnes.
The baseline Pantsir-ME includes a C2 module, combat station, and missile storage system. The C2 unit detects and tracks low-size surface and low-flying aerial targets and provides target information to combat stations. The Pantsir-ME`s combat station features a combined guidance system that comprises an optical-electronic station and a radar. It is armed with two 30 mm six-barrel rapid-fire automatic cannons and eight ready-to-use bi-calibre missiles that can engage an aerial target at a range of up to 20 km. The under-deck missile storage system carries 32 additional missiles.
The Pantsir-ME hits aerial targets flying at a speed of up to 1,000 m/s. The system`s automatic cannons have a rate of fire of some 10,000 rounds per minute and fire both armour-piercing reduced calibre (APCR) and high-explosive fragmentation (HE-Frag) 30 mm rounds.
The new AD system features relatively compact dimensions and weighs more than 8,000 kg. The Pantsir-ME`s crew totals three.
At present, the Russian Navy (Voyenno-Morskoy Flot, VMF) is reported to be operating the Kortik ‘CADS-N-1A Kashtan’ close-in weapon system armed with two six-barrel 30 mm guns and surface-to-air missiles. The Pantsir-ME will replace this system in the near future.
Photo by Dmitry Fediushko