(From the National Interest)
By Dave Majumdar
Russia is developing a new mobile air defense system for its elite airborne troops that will be based on the BMD-4M armored vehicle. The new weapon system—which is designed to be parachuted down to ground forces—will be able to protect paratroopers from enemy aircraft operating at high or medium altitudes.
“Work is underway on the on the creation of an air-droppable anti-aircraft missile defense system based on the BMD-4M airborne combat vehicle. The experimental design work is codenamed Ptitselov,” a Russian defense ministry spokesperson told the Moscow-based TASS news agency.
The Russian report does not describe the system in detail. However, given that the Ptitselov—or “Fowler” in English—is based on the lightweight BMD-4M armored vehicle chassis, the system is probably comparable to the Pantsir-S2 anti-aircraft gun/surface-to-air missile system.
The Pantsir-S2 has a range of about 19 miles and can engage targets at altitudes of about 33,000ft. The older Pantsir-S1 can attack two targets simultaneously and can attack as many as 12 targets in less than a minute. Thus, it is reasonable to assume that the Ptitselov will be as capable—if not more so.
The addition of the Ptitselov will greatly increase the capabilities of Russia’s airborne forces, which have previously relied on man portable air defenses to ward off air attacks. The Ptitselov will afford those lightweight—but fully-mechanized—troops some level of area air defense capability similar to other Russian mechanized forces. Russian mechanized forces are usually accompanied by mobile surface-to-air defense systems such as the fearsome Buk-M3 (NATO: SA-17 Grizzly). Read more
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