Sat May 23, 2020, 06:38 AM

Russian Pantsir systems neutralized in Libya

Russia has got a black eye in Libya as at least three of its vaunted Pantsir S-1 (SA-22 Greyhound) air defense systems were taken out by Turkish Bayraktar TB-2 armed drones.

The drones, ostensibly in the hands of the official Libyan government forces (Government of National Accord or GNA), are actually operated by Turkish personnel.

Turkey has been illegally shipping arms into Libya and has deployed 1,500 soldiers and thousands of non-uniformed personnel to help the Libyan government fend off attacks by the so-called Libyan National Army headed by self-declared Field Marshal Khalifa Belqasim Haftar.

Turkey has had a big impact in recent days, forcing Haftar to abandon his attempt to take Tripoli and putting its forces on the run. Haftar has lost his key airbase at al-Watiya.


The Bayraktar TB-2 is a medium endurance armed drone powered by an Austrian Rotax four cylinder 100 horsepower engine. It has been used against hard targets including tanks, armored personnel vehicles, bunkers and hangers and sometimes against civilians.

The Turks have used it to kill what they say are members of the PKK, the Kurdish militant political organization Turkey considers terrorists. Five PKK leaders were killed by a Bayraktar drone in November, 2019, in Iraq. The Bayraktar is manufactured in Turkey by Baykar Defense in Istanbul. The system is operated by Turkey, by Qatar and by Ukraine. The drone carries a missile called the MAM-L. It is 160mm in diameter and weighs 22kg. It is manufactured in Turkey by Rokestan.

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