Russian surface-to-air missile blasts 12 meters from USAF aircraft
The 57E6 [or domestic version 23Ya6] is a Russian surface-to-air missile. It is used by the Pantsir-S1 mobile air defense system. Its purpose is the destruction of aerial enemy aircraft, such as drones, helicopters, and airplanes. Last year, such a missile damaged an American MQ-9 Reaper in Syria.
The attempt to shoot down the American drone took place last November. A U.S. official spoke about the incident, revealing few details to U.S. journalists. The 57E6 missile failed to detonate at the correct distance. I.e. the missile exploded just over 12 meters [40 ft] away from the US drone, causing it to malfunction. However, the drone was able to safely return to base.
The 57E6 is within 3.3 meters long. The warhead of the 57E6 is high-explosive. The weight of the warhead is about 20 kg. This missile is categorized as a radio-guided missile. The 57E6 is a two-stage rocket.
The 57E6 is the main armament of the Russian Panzer-S1 system. Thanks to this missile, the system poses a threat to subsonic cruise missiles at a distance of at least 12 km from the mobile system. The 57E6 can engage high-speed air-to-surface missiles at a distance of 7 km and an altitude of 6 km. According to official specifications, the 57E6 has a range of 20 km at a maximum altitude of 10 km.
Although the 57E6 failed to destroy the American drone, the missile is known for its precision. For example, at the end of last year, Moscow released a video of the war in Ukraine. The video shows the precise interception and destruction of an American AGM-88 HARM missile, which caused a lot of trouble for Russian military facilities in the region of the temporarily occupied Ukrainian territories.
The revelation of the American official about the incident that happened in Syria shows that the tension between Russia and the United States is constantly escalating. BulgarianMilitary.com recalls that in mid-March of this year, two Russian Su-27s shot down such a drone over the Black Sea. Back then, however, the planes didn’t use air-to-air missiles but shot down the drone by dropping fuel on the drone’s structure.
The operators of this MQ-9 realized that the drone was too damaged to be flown back to base. So they decided to smash it in the waters of the Black Sea. Subsequently, the Russian pilots involved in the downing of the American drone were awarded by the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation.
For the incident in Syria, experts explain the reason why the MQ-9 drone was damaged. According to them, the 57E6 missile narrowly missed the drone. I.e. the missile missed a hit with the American aircraft. Sources say that since this incident, there have been other attempts to shoot down the MQ-9 over Syria.
One of the most recent incidents involving an MQ-9 drone [in addition to the downed drone over the Black Sea] occurred at the beginning of the year when a drone crashed in West Africa. However, the debris fell on territories controlled by the Al-Qaeda terrorist group.
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