Libya operating Pantsir-S1 air defence systems


It appears Libyan forces are operating Pantsir-S1 air defence systems delivered by the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Photos emerged on 18 June showing what appears to be Libyan National Army (LNA) units escorting a Pantsir-S1 air defence system near al-Jufra Air Base in central Libya. The system was fitted to a MAN SX 45 8×8 truck, which is only in service with the United Arab Emirates, according to Jane’s Defence Weekly. It apparently arrived on a UAE military transport aircraft on 18 June.

The Pantsir-S1 system (SA-22 ‘Greyhound’) was designed by the KBP Instrument Design Bureau of Tula, Russia, and is manufactured by the Ulyanovsk Mechanical Plant in Ulyanovsk. It combines two 2A38M 30 mm automatic anti-aircraft guns developed from the two-barrelled 30 mm GSh-30 gun, with twelve 57E6 surface-to-air missiles.

The Pantsir-S1 is mounted on an 8×8 vehicle and can fire at two targets simultaneously and attack 12 targets a minute. Effective range is 20 kilometres. It can engage artillery shells out to four kilometres.

The fire control system includes a target acquisition radar and dual waveband tracking radar with a detection range of 32–36 km and tracking range of 24–28 km for a mid-size target. The fire control system also includes an electro-optic channel with long-wave thermal imager and infrared direction finder.

Since 2014, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt have provided the LNA with military equipment, helping General Khalifa Haftar to gain the upper hand in Libya’s eight-year conflict. Hardware has included Panthera T6, Typhoon and Caiman armoured vehicles, MiG-21 fighter aircraft and Mi-24/35P helicopters.

The arrival of the Pantsir-S1 system may be to counter Turkish-made unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), which have been used against LNA forces during its move to capture Tripoli. The LNA, which is allied to a rival administration in eastern Libya, launched an offensive to control Tripoli in early April.

Apart from Egypt and the UAE, it appears Jordan has also been supplying the Libyan National Army with hardware. Last month Jordanian-manufactured Al-Mared 8×8 and Mbombe 6×6 armoured vehicles were spotted in Libya. In 2013 Jordan supplied 49 Nimr vehicles and in June 2018 a Jordanian manufactured Al-Wahsh 4×4 armoured personnel carrier was spotted in Libyan National Army service, equipped with a Jordanian Snake Head turret

The recent deliveries to the LNA appear to be in response to the 18 May delivery of dozens of Kirpi II armoured vehicles to forces loyal to Libya’s UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA). They were shipped to Libya from Turkey along with several Vuran vehicles.