Analysis: Russian air defense focusing on drone threats
In an interview on the Ekho Moskvy radio station on November 10, 2019, the deputy commander-in-chief of the Russian Aerospace Forces, Lt. Gen. Yuri Grekhov, noted that Russian air-defense systems are being upgraded to focus on UAV threats. In Syria, the Russian military has faced a number of attacks from crude UAVs rigged with explosives, which have caused damage to military installations, including those away from the front lines.
"The air defense missile and gun system Pantsir is currently able to destroy rocket projectiles and drones", Lt.Gen. Grekhov said (Picture source: Army Recognition)
Lt. Gen. Grekhov said, "We do not standstill. Systems capable of countering large-scale application of drones are under development and are fairly efficient." He added: "Our equipment is upgraded to cater for novelties invented by the adversary. The air defense missile and gun system Pantsir is currently able to destroy rocket projectiles and drones." This includes drones that are able to hover, Grekhov noted.
Lt. Gen. Grekhov did not get into specifics on what systems Russia was upgrading to focus on the UAV threat but identified that targeting drones with missiles is not cost-effective. He said, "It is rather costly to destroy drones by missiles. Other means of destruction are available, including radio-electronic warfare systems." Anti-aircraft guns are another weapon that can be used to down an enemy drone.