Russia’s TOR air defence systems scores hundreds of hits during combat

Russia’s Tor short-range air defence (SHORAD) systems have successfully intercepted hundreds of targets in combat action, reports the Russian Aviation & Military Guide (RAMG) magazine.

Russian Aviation & Military Guide is the special analytical project of United Industrial Publishing.

The Tor SAM systems, developed and produced by the Russian Almaz-Antey Corporation’s Izhevsk Electromechanical Plant Kupol, are intended for providing air defence for military units and strategic facilities in all weather conditions, at any time of day and night, under conditions of intensive fire and electronic countermeasures.

It provides round-the-clock protection against both fixed-/rotary-wing aircraft and air-launched weapons, as well as against UAVs. The system has undergone several upgrades and is said to be equally effective for shielding military installations and civil infrastructure.

The air defence system has been greatly praised by Russian operators and has celebrated its 35th anniversary since its induction into the Russian Armed Forces.

“The high combat capabilities of the Tor family of SAM systems have been repeatedly confirmed in practice, including in live combat, during which they shot down hundreds of different means of an air attack”, reported the RAMG.

The article also emphasizes the system’s jamming immunity. “Another key feature of the Tor family is its high jamming immunity capabilities, demonstrated by the tests conducted by the Greek Armed Forces where NATO‘s EW capabilities failed to suppress the Russian system”, said the RAMG.

The distinctive features of the latest Tor-E2 version are fast deployment time from mobile to combat mode – 3 minutes; capability to conduct reconnaissance of the combat situation on the move; large ammunition load – 16 SAMs per vehicle; response time from target acquisition to missile launch is 5-10 seconds.

“The airspace survey speed is 1 turn of the antenna per second, which is the world‘s best indicator in the class of short-range SAM systems. Within a single antenna revolution, the SAM can detect up to 48 targets, priorities them according to threat level and take the 10 most dangerous ones for auto-guidance”, said the RAMG.

The faster the antenna rotates, the more high-speed targets the system is able to track.

Optionally, the Tor family SAMs are available in a variety of carrier designs.  In addition to the standard tracked version, Tor-M2K on a wheeled chassis, Tor-A on a twin tracked off-road vehicle and the Tor-M2KM autonomous combat module have been developed.

The Tor-M2K is optimally suited for countries with a developed network of paved roads. Compared with the basic version, it has a higher speed – 80 km/h.

The Tor-M2KM autonomous combat module has completely abandoned its chassis and can even be airlifted by an Mi-26 helicopter. The Tor-M2KM is intended for defending of stationary objects and can be used from the deck of a ship, a railway platform, roofs of buildings etc. The module is easily coupled with any chassis of suitable payload capacity.

The carrier base of the Tor-A is a twin-tracked off-road vehicle.  This SAM system is specialized for operation in extreme climatic conditions and difficult terrain.

During the 2020 conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh, according to the media reports, Tor SAMs also succeeded in downing unmanned aerial vehicles. Al Jazeera specified in one of its reports that, the system was surely capable of “finding and shooting down” the Turkish-produced Bayraktar TB2 drones.

The Tor SAM has been used by Russia in its military operation in Syria. In 2020 the Russian Ministry of Defense officially announced, that these systems had shot down dozens of improvised drones there.  The MoD has also publicized the successful use of Tor SAMs in current combat actions in Ukraine, calling it the system capable of ‘locking the sky’.

“The Tor-M2U surface-to-air missile system ‘scan’ the sky both day- and nighttime. As soon as any aerial object enters the area of responsibility that does not respond to the “friend-or-foe” request, they track it and hit the target”, reported the MoD in November.

The Tor system for inducted in 1986 since then has gone through three major upgrades – Tor-M1 (1991), Tor-M2U (2009) and Tor-M2 (2016). Russia is currently offering at the global arms market the Tor-M2E, the modular Tor-M2KM and the Tor-E2 modifications.

The modular version was demonstrated to the African leaders at the 2019 Russia-Africa Economic Forum and was called one of the most popular Russian military systems on the African continent. It can be accommodated into various types of chassis, and used as a stationary or shipborne SAM system.

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