A new video of a russian Pantsir air defense missile and artillery system shared by OSINT community InformNapalm shows an episode of this systems malfunction, which resulted in bad consequences – for the russians, that is.
As we can see in the video below, the last missile came out when the launcher was trying to return to its starting position, but a delay caused the missile fire before the tube was directed up in the air once again.
Here we would be cautious about assumptions why exactly it happened, but it looks like the malfunction of the system’s program, so there is an opportunity to remind once more, why it’s so dangerous to leave russian missile systems working in automatic mode.
The fact is, back in 2020 Pantsir-S family of air defense systems received an upgraded fire control system which now could work in a fully autonomous way, without the need of the interference by operators. It provides for the search, tracking, locking and elimination of aerial threats.
As noted by the russian military officials, the software had "features of artificial intelligence" which was meant to help the commander to quickly and effectively respond to a massive air attack by excluding the human factor.
At that time, Pantsir had suffered both reputational an physical losses, as it was far less effective than expected in Libya, particularly against Turkish Bayraktar TB2 drones it was supposed to counter. A "swarm attack" of five and more drones from multiple directions was too much for this system to deal with, though it managed to shoot one or two before going down.
The new fire control system allowed to search and destroy air targets in a stand-alone mode or by receiving target data from other Pantsir systems in the battery or from early warning radars in conjunction with an air defense command post, as explained by Military-Today.
Back in the day, Defense Express warned against the decision of equipping the Pantsir with such automatic fire mode, as it poses direct threat to civilian aircraft. In the video you’ve just seen, it is said it was the Pantsir-S2 system which means it should be also equipped with such a system.
Combined with the fact how many Pantsir systems were destroyed in Ukraine and considering the ability to operate the system from a safe place provided by the automatic mode, we can assume that is what happened: the system was working in an auto mode, but when the launcher did not return in its initial position before another launch, there was no one to manually stop it and oversee that the missile goes the right direction.
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