DEBKAfile Exclusive: Iran acquires Russian-made air defense and anti-tank systems to repel a possible US attack on Iran
April 7, 2007, 10:50 AM (GMT+02:00)
Russian Pantsyr 1 (SA-19)surface-to-air missile system sold to Iran
The Pantsyr 1 (known in the West as SA-19 GRISOM) system is designed to engage aerial targets, including missiles; the Khrizantema (9M123), to strike advancing tank columns at long range and destroy bunkers.
Our military sources report that the two weapons systems combined are built to repel advancing armored units while at the same striking helicopter commando drops behind their lines. A third recently-delivered Russian system, the TOR M1, has been put into service by the Revolutionary Guards to protect nuclear and other strategic sites against missile attack, including cruise missiles.
The Israeli military fears Moscow is also planning to supply Syria and Hizballah with the sophisticated SA-9 and 9M123. DEBKAfile’s military sources say that the two weapons in Syrian hands could seriously impair Israeli tank and helicopter movements and hit IDF positions and command posts deep inside the Golan.
Col. Yury Solovyov, commander of Russia’s Air Defense Forces Special Command, told Novosti news agency Friday, April 6, that Iran’s air defense system is strong enough to repel a US strike.
“Currently Iran has our defense missile systems which are capable of tackling US combat aircraft,” he said. “Iran also has French and other countries’ defense systems.”
Earlier, Russian Dept FM Alexander Losyukov stated that no US attack on Iran is expected in the coming days, contradicting a previous quote by Novosti from Russian intelligence officials who predicted a US missile strike against Iran, codenamed Operation Bite, at 4:00 a.m. April 6. Other Russian sources speak of an April attack.
The Pantsyr 1 is a radar command-guided, two-stage surface-to-air missile battery mounted on a 2S6 integrated air defense system, which is fitted with two banks of four missiles in blocks of two. Each can be independently elevated vertically. The weapon can engage aerial targets moving at a maximum speed of 500 meters per second at altitudes ranging from 15 to 3,500 meters. Its effective range is 2..4 to 8 km. A high-explosive fragmentation warhead is activated within 5 metes from target with a kill probability of 70%.
The Khrizantema’s supersonic missiles shoot at a speed of 400 meters per second to hit moving targets, including armored vehicles, at a distance of 6 km. This weapon can pierce 1,200mm of steel armor – even explosive reactor armor (ERA) - making both the US Abrams and Israeli Chariot tanks vulnerable. It can also destroy bunkers and engage low-flying helicopters. The Khrizantema uniquely features two guidance modes - automatic by roof-mounted radar, and semi-automatic by a laser beam rider.