“The efforts of both Russia and Ukraine to overcome their adversary’s ground-based air defense systems continue to be one of the most important contests of the war. On the Russian side, the SA-15 Tor short-range surface-to-air missile system (SAM) is playing a critical and largely effective role,” the UK ministry of defense said in its war intelligence update.
The British ministry added: “With a maximum range of 15 km, the SA-15 is operated by the Russian army air defense units and is designed to protect the front line of ground troops. This is in contrast with other short-range systems, such as SA-22 Pantsir, which are operated by Russian Aerospace Forces and typically protects command nodes, longer range SAMs, and air bases.”
The intelligence report found that the SA-15 is “effectively acting as the front line of Russia’s elaborate air defense network in Ukraine,” and it is “currently particularly utilized to counter Ukrainian uncrewed aerial vehicle operations.”
However, “one of the key limitations of the system in the current war is likely the endurance of its crew.” The report stated: “With an established allocation of only three personnel to each system, maintaining a high state of alert for extended periods is highly likely proving an extreme test of endurance.”
The SA-15 Tor (NATO reporting name: SA-15 “Gauntlet”) “is a modern multipurpose short-range antiaircraft missile system characterized by high mobility. It is capable of successfully accomplishing combat assignments in any situation, including amid the enemy’s active jamming counter-measures. Apart from various aerodynamic targets, the Tor is capable of hitting missiles,” state news agency TASS reported.
It added: “The Tor-M2 is designed to shield vital administrative facilities and the first echelons of ground forces against strikes by anti-radiation and cruise missiles, gliding air bombs, aircraft, helicopters and unmanned aerial vehicles. The Tor air defense system can control the designated airspace on its own and independently shoot down all air targets that are not identified by the friend-or-foe system.”