15/11/2013 by Paul Fiddian - Armed Forces International's Lead Reporter
Russian defence firm Almaz-Antey has upgraded the Tor-M2 air defence system to give it increased range, higher precision and the ability to carry more weapons.
Now equipped with 9M331 surface to air missiles, the redeveloped Tor-M2E was put through its paces last month, as a company representative explained.
"We can say now that a unique air defense system in its class with an astounding precision and range has been created", Almaz-Antey's R&D head, Sergei Druzin, told news agency RIA Novosti. "Its performance surpasses all planned parameters."
He continued: "We carried out five launches targeting highly manoeuvrable drones. Three of the targets were hit head-on, while the other two were destroyed by shrapnel from exploding warheads. It is an excellent result, astounding precision."
Tor Air Defence System
The Tor air defence system has been in service since 1986. An all-weather capable surface to air missile launch platform, it is designed to counter aircraft, helicopters, UAVs, precision-guided bombs, cruise missiles and other airborne threats.
A large number of upgraded models have been developed from the original Tor, namely the Tor-M, Tor-M1, Tor-M1T, Tor-M2, Tor-MTA and Tor-MTB. Various Tor versions are in service with numerous nations, including Egypt, Iran, Venezuela, Cyprus, China and Russia itself. Presently, Tor-M1 and Tor-M2s equip the Russian Army. These are armed with 9M331 missiles but it's the more capable 9M338s that have been involved in the Tor upgrade missile launch trials.
According to Druzin, the upgraded Tor-M2s and 9M331 missiles are now approved to enter series production. "We can now start producing these missiles in quantities that would meet the demand of the Russian army", he confirmed.
Next to come for the Tor air defence system is a firepower upgrade, allowing it to launch a constant missile stream. "The [mobile] launcher currently stops for two or three seconds to launch a missile, but it could be done on a move, without stopping", Druzin concluded.