Russia/Syria: new Russian air defence system…
Summary: Russia deploys highly advanced air defence system to Syria – does ISIS have an air force?
Janes report – from Russia Today sources – that a new version of the Pantsyr air defence system has been spotted defending the Russian military airbase at Humaymim in Syria:
Janes, 8 Feb 2016: Russia has deployed the new version of the Pantsyr air defence system to its Humaymim airbase in Syria, footage broadcast by the RT news channel on 3 February has confirmed.
Russia has had at least one Pantsyr-S1 at Humaymim since 3 October 2015, when its Ministry of Defence released a photograph showing one in the background.
The RT footage showed a second system with the new bidirectional radar now deployed at the base. This also appears to be the first time the new Pantsyr version has been seen in Russian service.
RT identified the system as a Pantsyr-S2: a new version the Russian military said it would take into service in 2015.
The Pantsyr S1 version has been in Syria for a few months. This version seems to be the newer S2 and it seems this may have been in the offing since the end of last year. Last time I checked, the Islamic State did not have any form of military combat system that might require such a sophisticated anti-air counter measures system. The fact that it has been presented on Russia Today suggests a “flag-waving” statement for the benefit of US (and Turkish) air forces and the radar systems deployed as part of the Pantsyr package might permit a more enhanced picture of all air activity in the region.
To be fair to Russian military aviation, you might want to have your airbase defended with all means possible on the basis of “you never know”. Perhaps ISIS has, or may develop a drone reconnaissance/strike capability…