TechMissile mishap in Crimea: Russian Tor-M2 system blamed, not Ukrainian ATACMS

Missile mishap in Crimea: Russian Tor‑M2 system blamed, not Ukrainian ATACMS

Wreck of a rocket found near Sevastopol
Wreck of a rocket found near Sevastopol
Images source: © Telegram | Crimeanwind
Norbert Garbarek

24 June 2024 18:38

During Sunday’s shelling of Crimea, Ukrainian armed forces reportedly fired at least five ATACMS missiles towards Sevastopol. According to the Russians, one of the missiles deviated from its course and fell near a beach close to Sevastopol. However, pictures published online suggest that a Russian Tor-M2 system missile, not an ATACMS as initially thought, landed in Crimea.

– It is too early to draw conclusions, but it is not an ATACMS – stated military analyst Oleksandr Kovalenko, quoted by the Ukrainian agency Unian. He points out that the missile wreckage found near Sevastopol looks like one used in the Tor-M2 anti-aircraft system.

Kovalenko adds that using the Tor-M2 anti-aircraft system to intercept a ballistic missile is unjustified and pointless. The expert explains that if a Tor-M2 missile fails to intercept the designated target, it initiates a self-destruction system.

Kovalenko suspects this is what happened in Crimea. He explains that it's possible that the missile failed to intercept the Ukrainian missile and self-destructed over the beach near Sevastopol.

Tor-M2 air defence system

The Tor-M2 complex is a weapon whose history dates back to the 1980s. During that period, the USSR commenced work on creating a successor to the 9K33 Osa system. The first generation of the Tor system was designed to combat airborne targets (drones, guided missiles, cruise missiles, aircraft, helicopters, and precision weapons) moving at short and medium ranges. This is why Kovalenko believes using the Tor-M2 to shoot down ATACMS is unjustified. American missiles reach altitudes of several kilometres.

According to the Army-Technology portal, the Tor-M2 set consists of two 9M334 modules containing four 9M331 surface-to-air missiles in four separate containers. A single 9M331 missile weighs about 170 kilograms and is nearly 3 metres long with a diameter of about 25 centimetres and a wingspan of over 0.6 metres. The warhead alone weighs 15 kilograms.

The maximum speed of a missile fired by the Tor-M2 system reaches Mach 2.5, over 3,000 kilometres per hour. A 9M331 missile can ascend to an altitude of 6 kilometres and get a maximum distance of about 11 kilometres. The rocket uses a radio guidance system.

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