Efforts to neutralize enemy air defenses remain critical to war efforts, UK intel says

The efforts of both Russia and Ukraine to overcome each other’s ground-based air defense systems remain one of the most important contests of the war, reads an intelligence report by the UK Ministry of Defense published on Dec. 3.

The Tor short-range air defense missile system plays a critical role for Russia. It is used by the air defense units of the Russian army and is designed to protect the front line of ground forces.

The Pantsir air defense systems operated by the Russian Aerospace Forces usually protect command nodes, longer-range SAMs, and Russian air bases.

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UK intelligence has noted that the Russians are particularly active in using the Tor SAM to counter Ukrainian UAVs. It acts as the first line of the Russian army’s air defense network in Ukraine.

One of the key limitations of the Tor in Russia’s war against Ukraine is probably the endurance of its crew.

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Given that each system is manned by only three people, maintaining a high level of combat readiness for a long time is an extreme test of endurance.

Earlier, UK intelligence reported that in November 2023, Russia moved the S-400 air defense system from Kaliningrad Oblast, its enclave on the Baltic Sea coast, to compensate for recent losses on the Ukrainian front.

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