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Russia sends S-400 to Serbia for drills as Belgrade confirms Pantsir-S purchase

Serbia’s president said on Thursday, October 24 that the country has ordered a Pantsir-S air defense system, while Russia’s defense ministry said it has deployed both S-400 and Pantsir-S systems to Serbia.

“An S-400 is in our country because of the drills, and tomorrow I will go to look at it,” Tass reported Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic as saying.

“Also, I am going to examine a Pantsir-S system on Saturday [October 26]. We have placed an order for it,” Vucic added.

The Pantsir-S1 (NATO reporting name: SA-22 Greyhound) is a ground-based self-propelled anti-aircraft gun and missile system designed to provide point air defense for installations against aircraft, helicopters, precision munitions, cruise missiles and UAVs. It combines short- to medium-range surface-to-air missiles with an anti-aircraft artillery weapon, and uses phased array radars for target acquisition and tracking.

A new version, Pantsir-S1M, was unveiled in February. It features upgraded radars that can track up to 40 targets and engage four targets simultaneously, as well as new surface-to-air missiles. It is unclear which version of the Pantsir-S system Serbia will receive.

Meanwhile, Russia’s defense ministry confirmed Pantsir-S and S-400 systems had been deployed to Serbia.

“Russian air defense units with S-400 anti-aircraft missile systems and the Pantsir-S anti-aircraft missile and gun systems were deployed by Russian military transport aircraft to the territory of Serbia to participate in the second stage of the joint Russian-Serbian air defense exercises Slavic Shield – 2019,” the defense ministry said, noting that it was the first time the systems have taken part in exercises “in the territory of a foreign state.”

The S-400 and Pantsir-S systems will be deployed at the Batajnica air base in Serbia.

During Slavic Shield, Russian and Serbian forces work on interaction and joint combat use of air defense systems. The second stage was scheduled for October 23 to 29.

The S-400 Triumf (NATO reporting name: SA-21 Growler) is an advanced long- and medium-range air defense and missile defense system that can use five different missile types to destroy aerial targets including planes, drones, cruise missiles and ballistic missiles at a range of 40 to 400 km (25 to 250 miles) at altitudes of up to 30 km.

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