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20 Mar, 2010 01:19

Russia’s shield renewed by Greyhound

The cutting-edge weaponry known as the “Greyhound” boasts mobility and accuracy, traits that have made it popular with the United Arab Emirates and Syria, with Algeria set to follow.

A dozen new air defense systems will soon be the latest addition to Russia's military might.

Codenamed by NATO the “Greyhound,” the Pantsir-S1 is a formidable combination of anti-aircraft guns and surface-to-air missiles designed to locate and hunt down most types of flying threats.

It is armed with 12 guided missiles and its two twin 30mm guns can each fire up to 2,500 rounds per minute.

Chief Developer Igor Stepanichev says Russia’s latest war machine is truly unique.

“No other air defense system in the world is armed with both guns and missiles. This and its ability to track and hunt down several targets simultaneously make it truly one of a kind,” Stepanichev told RT.

The “Greyhound” can be mounted on trucks, tracks or stationed.

Manned or fully automatic, each one costs about $15 million and Russia's armed forces have received their first batch of 10.

The key difference between this machine and other anti-aircraft systems is that it can lock onto targets flying from as low as 5 meters above ground to around 10 miles high and up to 13 miles away. This makes the “Greyhound” a serious threat to helicopters, spy planes and missiles.

Development began in the 1990s, mainly with money from the United Arab Emirates – which has signed a deal to buy 50 of them.

Russia plans to get 25 units before the end of 2012.

They will help guard air defense systems which target ballistic missiles carrying nuclear warheads.

However, the “Greyhound” should not be viewed as the basis of Russia’s air defense, but rather as a small – though very advanced – addition to the face-lift the armed forces are currently undergoing.

Now the fresh-out-of-the-factory giants start their journey to Moscow, where they will take part in the Victory Day parade on May 9.