The US military seized the Russian-made Pantsir-C1 air defense complex in Libya and took it to the American Ramstein base in Germany. This was reported on January 28 by the British newspaper The Times.
According to the publication, the incident occurred back in June 2020, when the forces of the head of the Libyan National Army, Marshal Caliphs of Haftar participated in the battle for Tripoli. The air defense system was taken after the capture of the air base during a counterattack. A special squadron arrived at the Zuvar airport specially for the removal of the anti-aircraft missile system on the American military transport aircraft C-17 Globemaster. At the moment, according to The Times, “Pantsir-C1” is still at the Ramstein base.
Why did the Americans take the Pantsir S-1 to their base in Germany?
According to The Times, the US feared that the anti-aircraft missile system, which could easily shoot down civilian aircraft, would fall into the hands of militias or arms smugglers. The publication writes that at that time in the North African country, an exacerbation of the civil war was recorded.
According to Middle East Monitor, the air defense missile system was captured near the Al-Watia airbase in May last year and then sent to the city of Zawiya, where he was betrayed to a militia commander associated with the terrorist organization ISIS (Daesh), banned in the Russian Federation, named Mohamad Bahrun… but Libyan Interior Minister Fathi Bashaga and his forces forced Bahrun to return the anti-aircraft missile system. He was taken to Zuwara Airport, where he was picked up by a US Air Force C-17 Globemaster cargo plane. The publication writes that Russia knew that the United States had transported the missile system, but Moscow rejected suggestions that the study of the air defense system could help to obtain any important data, since the export versions allegedly lack a confidential identification database.
According to military expert, chief editor of the magazine “Arsenal of the Fatherland” Viktor MurakhovskyThe air defense missile system was produced in Russia according to the tactical and technical assignments of the United Arab Emirates, and it is not identical to the Russian “Pantsir”. The expert explained to AiF.ru what goals the American military pursued.
“The Americans are naturally interested in any Russian technology. Of course, first of all, they are interested in the equipment that is used in the Russian army, as well as in the one that is available for export. The complex was removed in order to study and develop countermeasures for electronic warfare, developing aviation tactics, piloting UAVs, overcoming air defense zones, as well as covering such zones of air defense systems. The Americans in the United States have a whole staff unit at the training grounds, which is equipped either with mock-ups imitating Russian equipment, or with what they managed to get, for example, the Soviet-era air defense systems S-125, “Cube”, etc. They are quite scrupulous about such things, preparing their aircraft for various options for combat operations. Naturally, if there is an opportunity to get “Pantsir”, which looks like a Russian one, why refuse. When we received the American Tomahawk missiles with which they fired at Syria, we also did not sleep in shafts, but began to study them. This practice is everywhere. Suffice it to look at the armament of Iran, where one third is copied from Russian (types of weapons – approx.AiF.ru), and one third – from the American, etc. There is nothing surprising in this, all countries are engaged in this, ”Murakhovsky told AiF.ru.
Who owned the Pantsir-C1?
The Libyan National Army (LNA), led by Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, received Russian air defense systems from the UAE. The United Arab Emirates acquired more than 50 such air defense systems from Russia back in 2009-2013.
Since 2014, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt have been supplying the Libyan National Army with military equipment, thus helping General Haftar win the eight-year conflict in Libya. These deliveries include Panthera T6, Typhoon and Caiman armored vehicles, MiG-21 fighters and Mi-24 / 35P helicopters.
The deliveries of the Pantsir-C1 system may be related to countering the Turkish unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), which were used against the LNA forces during the capture of Tripoli. In the spring of 2020, it became known that the forces of the Government of National Accord, supported by Turkey, had captured at least three Pantsir-C1, two of which were badly damaged. One of them, according to media reports, was taken to an American base in Germany.