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Tor 9M338 (SA-15 Gauntlet)

Russias Almaz-Antey defense corporation said 14 November 2013 that it had developed an advanced version of the Tor-M2 air defense system, featuring an extended firing range, improved precision and greater ammunition-carrying capacity.

Tor-M1 and Tor-M2U variants, armed with 9M331 missiles, were currently in service with the Russian army. The new system, equipped with new 9M338 missiles, was successfully tested at the end of October 2013. The new 9M338 doubled the ammunition capacity while offering higher precision and maneouverability. The new system, equipped with new 9M338 missiles, was successfully tested at the end of October 2013. The smaller size of the 9M338 compared with its predecessor has allowed the carrying capacity of the launcher to be doubled, from eight to 16 missiles.

The capability to fire on the move is what distinguishes the M2U modification of the Tor. The benefit is that it can respond to a surprise attack and that a moving column doesn't need to stop to get protection, as was the case with the previous models.

The Tor-M2U is a new-generation short-range missile system of the Tor series. It is designed for protecting military and civil facilities from aircraft, missile and bomb attacks. The system is able to recognize more than 40 targets simultaneously, classify them according to the level of danger and attack four targets with rockets at the same time. The guided missiles of the Tor were specially developed to intercept small-sized maneuvering targets.

The Tor-M2U air defense missile system is produced at the Kupol factory (part of the Almaz-Antey military space defense concern) in the city of Izhevsk (750 miles east of Moscow). The company is one of the key suppliers in the world's defense industry.

"The Tor-M2Us are unique systems that are capable of countering any attack weapon. In September 2015 we conducted successful tests, destroying the potential enemy's rockets moving at a speed of 25 km/h" [an imitation of a moving armored vehicle column], Kupol's general director Fanil Ziyatdinov said in May 2016.

Under the machine's hatch there are eight vertical missiles that in just a matter of seconds are capable of destroying any air target at a distance of 1-15 kilometers. The system can strike anything guided missiles, ballistic or winged missiles, air bombs, homing missiles fired from precision weapons, airplanes (fighters and attack aircraft), helicopters and reconnaissance and attack drones.

According to Ziyatdinov, the air defense system's possibility to maintain ceaseless fire as it is moving makes the Tor-M2U the best in its class. "The machine can resist temperature changes from -50 to +50 Celsius and can withstand the potential enemy's attempts at interfering with its radio frequencies. The system detects up to 48 targets and can maintain fire on four objects in circular range," he explained. Ziyatdinov also noted that since 2008 the production of the Tor-M2U has increased significantly, with supplies going to both the domestic and foreign markets. Currently, the concern is trying to adapt the system to ships and to destroying potential enemy missiles above the water's surface.

According to a source in Russia's defense industry, the Tor is different from similar systems in that one single chassis contains all the system's components: locators for target detection, support and guidance, as well as destruction systems. "This machine comes on a crawler or a wheeled chassis, it can be put on railway platforms or on ships. It is universal and can destroy any target with precision of 97 out of 100," added the expert.

He claimed that not one system in the world offers such possibilities, neither the American Chaparral, nor the British Rapier, nor the Franco-German Roland-5, not even the French Crotale NG. In his words, the system is named in honor of the Torus geometrical figure or, as ordinary Russians say, a bublik (bagel), which gathers the debris of the striking part of Tor's missile as it is flying towards its target. However, other experts insist that the system was named in honor of the belligerent Norse god of thunder and lightning, Thor.

Samples of the up-to-date surface-to-air missile systems were presented at the International Defense Exhibition IDEX 2015 which takes place from February 22-26, 2015 in Abu Dhabi, UAE. Izhevsk Electromechanical Plant Kupol, JSC will present samples of new generation short range surface-to-air missile systems Tor-M2E on special tracked chassis, Tor-M2K on special wheeled chassis as well as Tor-M2KM in the modular version, independent and on the mobile chassis.

Independent combat module Tor-M2KM is the latest development with enhanced target engagement zone and unique possibility of using the system for combat tasks performance in various conditions, in different types of forces with high reliability and efficiency. Detection, targets tracking and guidance radar means, combat stock, special equipment, energy and life utilities, fuel reserve, modern satellite navigation and the other system equipment are placed in unified body.

Unified body of independent combat module of SAM system provides its deployment on any mobile chassis with loading capacity not less than 20 ton on semi-trailers, railways platforms and other platforms including deck of low-tonnage vessels corresponding carrying capacity at the opinion of a customer. Thanks to low weight (not more than 15 ton) the system transportation is carried out on an external sling of ?I-26? helicopter enables its placement in the most out-of-the-way places, including roofs of buildings and constructions. Surface-to-air missiles system Tor-M2KM is capable to solve customers requirements.

Air defense units of Russias Eastern Military District stationed in Khabarovsky Territory started getting acquainted with the all-new Tor-M2U missile system which came into service late 2014, the district reported in a statement 04 February 2015. "Personnel arrived at the special air defense center in the Krasnodarsky Territory where they will learn how to load the missile system and how to find and recognize targets. The first target practice with the Tor-M2U will be held at a training range of the Kapustin Yar air defense center in Spring 2015," the statement reads. The district reported that in the second half of 2015, Tor-M2U crews of the Eastern Military District motor rifle unit stationed in Primorksy Territory will also undergo a training course.

Air defence units of the Eastern MD motorized rifle formations carried out first firing with Tor-M2U air defence missile systems at the Telemba specialized range (Buryatia) in March 2016. In the course of a tactic exercise with combat firing, Tor-M2U air defence missile systems detected, tracked and identified small-sized aerial target simulators of Saman type. The crews successfully engaged the targets at night. The servicemen improved their skills in loading the combat hardware, met qualification standards in putting the combat vehicles combat mode, and performed electronic (training) missile launches.

This new Tor-M2 standalone short range SAM introduced in November 2013, is quite different from the SAM "Tor-M2E" / "Thor M2K" (export versions) and from the "Tor-M2U" (for the Russian army). The main difference is a new missile. At MAKS 2013 there was introduced a new anti-aircraft missile RZV-MD - 9M338 / 9M338K created in GosMKB "Vympel" from the Corporation "Tactical Missile Arms". According to media reports, the ammunition to combat vehicle 9M338 missile is 16 pieces against 8 pieces of 9M331 [9K331 / 9K332 Gauntlet SA-15] missiles. The development of missiles in GosMKB "Vympel" is the chief designer Vladimir Eletskii. Serial production of missiles 9M338 as 9M331 performed on vyatkinskom of "VMP" Avitek", part of the Air Defense Concern.




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