The deputy commander of the Russian Aerospace Forces' Surface-to-Air Missile (SAM) Troops, Colonel Yuri Muravkin, has told the Ministry of Defence (MoD) newspaper Krasnaya Zvezda that the newly adopted S-350 Vityaz SAM system that is to replace the medium-range S-300PS system in the current SAM Troops inventory is a "cruise missile killer".
In an interview to commemorate SAM Troops Day on 8 July, Col Muravkin said that a single S-350 transporter erector launcher (TEL) is armed with three times as many missiles as a single S-300 or S-400 SAM TEL and that the S-350 is capable of repelling simultaneous attacks from any direction. The colonel also stated that the S-350's capabilities make it a priority to equip SAM units stationed on borders and coasts with Vityaz and that a regiment will be retrained for the system in 2020.
Col Muravkin claimed that the Pantsir-S short-range air defence (SHORAD) system had been used to "deal effectively with" Grad rockets fired by the BM-21 multiple rocket launcher system, small unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), and quadcopters over the last year and a half and had countered air-to-surface missiles and aircraft for a "long time".
The colonel added that the recently unveiled Pantsir-SM will counter future threats such as hypersonic missiles and UAV swarms, stressing that in addition to a new radar, greater processing power, and missiles with greater speed, range, and payload, the Pantsir-SM will use artificial intelligence.
Col Muravkin also stated that because of the proliferation of precision-guided munitions (PGMs), the focus is shifting from area to point air defence with Pantsir systems, while S-400 SAM systems will deal with aircraft before they launch PGMs.
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