Evolution of the air defense assets is inseparably linked with constant improvement of air threat. A distinctive feature of today's air operations is massive use of high precision weapons (HPW) — guided missiles and air bombs. In so doing the air forces fly all possible altitudes — from extremely low to high.

Recent local wars (in Iraq 1991, 1998 in Yugoslavia 1999) vividly demonstrated that modern air assault means, while delivering strikes throughout the depth of a country's territory, are capable to fulfil the main task: destruction of the enemy's military and economical potential without the need of carrying out large-scale land operations.

Given this circumstance a legitimate question arises: is it possible to create at present an effective and stable air defense, and what requirements should it meet?

The answer is definite: it is possible. But at the same time it must meet the following basic requirements:

  • High jamming immunity in intensive ECM environment;
  • High survivability in massive employment of HARM-type antiradar missiles;
  • A capability of destroying high precision weapons, such as Tomahawk cruise missile, Walleye 2 guided air bomb, Maverick guided missile etc.;
  • A capability of engaging fixed- and rotary- wing aircraft, RPVs, etc.;
  • Effectiveness at any time of night and day, in good and adverse weather;
  • High mobility, specifically for protecting motorized and armor units;
  • High availability and reliability.

An advanced AD system must anticipate potential improvements of the air threat in terms of performance and increase of the number of combat application modes. Obviously, for these purposes an AD system and its main components must have a certain margin of capabilities to guarantee its adaptation to the growing performance of air threat.

KBP has developed a new concept of a multi-purpose short-range AD system with combined missile/gun armament capable of engaging all types of targets, including the ground ones.

Surface-to-air missiles (SAMs) are fired at air targets throughout the entire engagement envelope starting from the far zone. Guns are used to destroy such targets as aircraft flying at extremely low altitudes and helicopters appearing unexpectedly from behind covers in near zone. Again, owing to low cost of their ammunition, guns are appropriate for defeating relatively cheap and mass targets, such as RPVs and ground targets.

The Pantsir-S1 air defense missile/gun system is a leader of the short-range air defenses; it embodies all the provisions of the KBP-developed and realized concept of a multi-purpose short-range AD system, which ensures its superiority over foreign counterparts. It constitutes that missing link in the air defenses with introduction of which the air assets formations acquire highest effectiveness and stability in environment of intense ECM and counter-fire. And the entire structure of air defenses becomes highly adaptable to alterations in performance of air threat and modes of their combat application. On the whole, high performance missile/gun armament and adaptive control system for various battle conditions implemented in the weapon system render the Pantsir-S1 air defense missile/gun system one of the most advanced samples of the 21st century's highly intelligent weapons.