In July 2020, the United States stole a Russian-made Pantsir-S1 anti-aircraft missile system (SAM) in Libya, The Times reports today, January 28, citing its own sources.
According to the British newspaper, the air defense system was removed from the battlefield and is currently located at Ramstein Air Force Base in Germany. The publication writes that “Pantsir-S1” was “delivered safe and sound”.
The Times claims that the operation was carried out amid fears that the air defense missile system could get into arms smugglers and be used to destroy civilian aircraft.
According to the newspaper, an American C-17A Globemaster III transport plane was used to deliver the Pantsir-S1 belonging to the Libyan National Army (LNA), led by Field Marshal Khalif Haftar.
The publication reminds that the LNA received the data from the LNA air defense system through the UAE, which, in turn, bought them from Russia. The Drive notes that the Libyan Pantsir-S1 is mounted on the chassis of the German MAN SX truck.
According to The Times, this complex for the United States is unlikely to be of value, since the latter had the opportunity to study such air defense systems in the UAE. The publication writes that Moscow is aware of the theft of weapons.
Nevertheless, The Drive claims that the American study of Pantsir-S1 “may provide useful information about Russia’s current industrial capabilities”. The publication also admits that weapons can be used in exercises and in the development of tactics for actions with the equipment of a potential enemy.
In June, Defense Express, citing its own sources, reported that in recent years, during the military conflicts in Syria and Libya, at least 23 Russian-made Pantsir-S1 complexes were destroyed, for which, in particular, Bayraktar TB2 were used.
The work on the creation of the complex was completed in 1994; it was first demonstrated at MAKS-1995. In 2006, tests began at the Kapustin Yar test site of a modern model of the complex on a KamAZ chassis. Tests of the Pantsir-S1 air defense missile system took place during 2006-2007. at the Kapustin Yar and Ashuluk landfills in the Astrakhan region. The last known modification was demonstrated at MAKS-2007. On November 16, 2012, by the order of the Prime Minister of the Russian Federation D. A. Medvedev, the Pantsir-S1 air defense missile system was adopted by the Russian Armed Forces.
In 2015, the new Pantsir-S2 complex with improved characteristics was adopted. In 2016, the development of a modification of the Pantsir-SM complex was completed, in which, due to the use of a newly developed multifunctional aiming station, the target destruction range was increased to 40 km.