Serbia has announced that it will purchase additional Pantsyr close-range air defense systems from Russia to bolster its military capabilities and strengthen diplomatic ties between the two countries.
The announcement comes after Russian President Vladimir Putin held a meeting with his Serbian counterpart Aleksandar Vučić to discuss how both countries could benefit from improved defense cooperation.
Rostec official Sergei Mikhailov said that the Pantsyr is an effective tool in taking down enemy drones, especially as countries continue developing increasingly sophisticated unmanned systems.
“Countering drones is one of the most urgent tasks facing modern air defense systems,” he told state-owned TASS in November. “Currently, the Russian industry produces two types of anti-UAVs — soft-kill, involving electronic suppression, and hard-kill, involving physical destruction.”
In 2019, Serbia acquired six Pantsyrs, with the first batch delivered in 2020. The Serbian Defense Ministry said the purchase could strengthen the nation’s defensive strength and deterrence.
In addition to the Pantsyr systems, Serbia has received 30 Russian T-72MS armored vehicles and more than two dozen BRDM-2MS armored personnel carriers. It will also receive its first Kornet anti-tank guided missiles.
The Pantsyr Air Defense System
Designed by JSC Instrument Design Bureau, the system can defend ground units against a variety of weapons, including ballistic and cruise missiles, precision-guided munitions, fixed-wing aircraft, helicopters, and drones.
It features two 2A38M 30-millimeter automatic anti-aircraft guns, target acquisition radar, and a dual waveband tracking radar that can detect targets up to 30 kilometers (18 miles) away.
Earlier this month, Rostec state tech corporation revealed that the Pantsyr system has been modified to detect and destroy all types of enemy drones. It has also been equipped with hypersonic missiles, boosting its strike range from 20 kilometers (12 miles) to 30 kilometers (18 miles).
The Eastern Military District press office also announced that a new air defense unit armed with the latest Pantsyr anti-aircraft missile system would be deployed near Khabarovsk in the Russian Far East to shield key military and industrial facilities.