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Dubai Airshow 2021: Pantsir upgrade firmly on the agenda for UAE

16th November 2021 - 15:15 GMT | by Leonid Nersisyan in Dubai

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Scale model of the Pantsir-S1M SAM system installed on a wheeled 8x8 chassis. (Photo: Leonid Nersisyan)

Negotiations are ongoing between the UAE and Russia to upgrade Pantsir-S1 SAM air defence systems.

Russia and the UAE are discussing the potential modernisation of Pantsir-S1 short-range air defence systems, 50 of which were delivered to the Middle Eastern country in the early 2000s.

Dmitry Shugaev, director of the Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation, mentioned these negotiations during the Dubai Airshow 2021 on 14-18 November, saying: ‘We are discussing with our Emirati partners the possibility of upgrading the previously supplied Pantsir-S1 SAMs. The modernisation involves a significant improvement in the capabilities of the system.’

A source at Pantsir manufacturer KBP Instrument Design Bureau told Shephard that talks revolve around the possibility of upgrading the UAE Pantsirs to the S1M configuration, with undisclosed technical details and customer requirements under discussion.

The UAE was the launch export customer for the Pantsir-S1 and indeed the country partially funded the development of the SHORAD SAM system, which has since been sold to other armed forces in the Middle East and North Africa (Algeria, Iraq, Oman and Syria).

Pantsir can be installed on a Kamaz truck chassis or those of foreign manufacturers. For example, the original order for the UAE included 26 systems on tracked chassis and 24 on wheeled MAN SX45 8x8 trucks.

Pantsir-S1M possesses new radars capable of detecting and tracking up to 40 targets at a distance of 80km. The system is capable of auto-tracking and auto-engaging up to four targets simultaneously.

In particular, the 57E6M-E SAM is capable of engaging targets at up to 30km, far beyond the older 57E6-E with its 20km range. The 57E6M-E features a fragmentation-rod kinetic action warhead to destroy fragments and other missile airframe debris, with a maximum velocity of 1,700m/s compared with 1,300m/s with the older missile.

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