Tor-M2KM SAM system: Absolute protection
Tor-M2KM SAM system: Absolute protection
On 14 September 2019, Yemens Houthi movement attacked oil production and refining facilities in Saudi Arabia. The Saudi army, with its third largest military budget in the world after the USA and China, proved unable to repel the attack. The countrys air defence system, built to US standards and utilising US weapons, was helpless against makeshift cruise missiles and drones.

The unprecedented strike on the worlds largest refinery in Abqaiq and the facility near the Khurais oil field, both owned by Saudi Aramco, led to a temporary drop in Saudi Arabias hydrocarbons production by more than a half, from 9.8 to 4.1 million barrels per day, or almost 5% of global oil production. According to an 18 September briefing by the Saudi Defence Ministry, the refinery was attacked by 18 unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and the Khurais facility, by seven cruise missiles. Only four of the missiles reached their target; the rest fell in the desert.

For comparison, let us consider the example of how air defences are organised at Russias Khmeimim air base in Syria, which has been attacked dozens of times by similar threats and successfully repelled all the attacks. The base was additionally equipped with the Tor-M2E SAM system, whose combat effectiveness exceeds 90%. We may state with confidence that this system is currently the best solution for combating UAVs, cruise missiles and precision weapon elements.

The Tor-M2Es equivalent, the Tor-M2KM, is a universal autonomous short-range SAM system. It ensures effective destruction of long-, medium- and short-range manoeuvring cruise missiles; anti-radiation missiles; anti-ship missiles flying as low as 5 m above the sea surface; glide and guided air bombs; UAVs; fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft flying at altitudes between 10 and 10,000 m. above the ground, at distances of between 1,000 and15,000 m and at a ground range of 8,000 m.

The system is highly immune to active and passive interference and can operate in all weather conditions, day and night.

The fully autonomous system can be mounted on any platforms of appropriate carrying capacity (automotive chassis, trailers and semi-trailers, trailers, rail flatcars, roofs of buildings and structures, decks of warships and civil vessels, in stationary locations, and at prepared sites in hard-to-reach areas). The system requires virtually no structural changes to its platform. It can be easily installed and dismantled by any lifting device with a capacity of at least 25 tonnes.

The system comprises combat and technical components.

The combat components are as follows:
- the 9A331MK-1 autonomous combat module (ACM);
- two 9M334D SAM modules each holding four 9M331D missiles (eight ready-to-launch missiles in total).

The technical components comprise a set of spares, tools and accessories for maintenance and repair. There is also an electronic training aid for the ACM crew.

The 9A331MK-1 autonomous combat module is capable of independently detecting, identifying and engaging aerial targets. It has its own round-the-clock radar and optical sensors, eight ready-to-launch SAMs, computer control system, crew workstations, navigation and positioning systems, main power supply (3220V, 400Hz, 65 kW) in the form of a gas turbine or a diesel generator, back-up power supply (solid-state, converting 3200V 50Hz to 3200V 400Hz up to 90kW), fuel supply and life support systems.

All equipment and personnel are accommodated in one compact module. The ACMs operation is fully automated. It automatically seeks, detects and tracks up to 144 targets, of which 10 targets identified by the control computer system as the most dangerous are displayed on the commanders screen, each complete with its number from 1 to 10. To engage a specific target, the commander only needs to press the control panel with the number of the selected target on it.

The system automatically tracks three more targets in the 30-degree sector. The control computer system determines the moment of launch to engage the target at maximum possible range and feeds the launch authorisation command to the commanders workstation. The commander then presses the launch button. Throughout its operation the functionality of all the systems equipment is automatically monitored and troubleshooted if need be.

The radio guidance system ensures high interference immunity and allows for missile guidance with different parameters depending on the target type. The guidance parameters are automatically selected by the control computer system. One of the guidance parameters makes it possible to reliably engage cruise missiles flying at down to 10 m above ground level (5 m above sea level). The second parameter is designed for diving targets such as the HARM anti-radiation missile. The third parameter is against guided air bombs. The fourth, fifth and sixth parameters are intended for fixed-wing, rotary-wing and UAV targets, respectively. The systems ability to engage targets at a ground range of up to 8 km ensures coverage of an area measuring up to 480 sq. km.

The system is operational in the temperature range of between -50 and +50 degrees Centigrade. Its combat components are protected against the elements such as solar radiation, precipitation, salt mist and salt spray.

The 9A331MK-1s all-up weight does not exceed 15 tonnes, which allows for any mode of transportation, including underslung by heavy helicopters such as the Mil Mi-26T.

The systems universality allows for its use as an air defence asset for ground units, warships, auxiliary vessels, civilian vessels, airfields, ports, sensitive strategic government and military facilities.

In addition, the Tor-M2KM can provide reliable protection of oil-and-gas facilities, including offshore oil platforms, as well as oil refineries, from terrorist attacks involving cruise missiles, strike UAVs and kamikaze drones.

The Tor-M2KM structure can be built depending on the type, area and location of the object to be protected. The best option is to use two to four 9A331MK-1 ACMs per object.

The system implements the one-for-one algorithm, as the kill probability exceeds 0.9.

According to military experts, in terms of the cost-effectiveness ratio the Tor-M2KM is the leading short-range SAM system both in Russia and abroad.

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