Greece considers donating S-300PMU and Tor-M1 missile to Ukraine

Greece is reconsidering the delivery of its Russian-made S-300 PMU1 and Tor-M1 surface-to-air defense missile systems to Ukraine following a Russian military strike that occurred close to its Prime Minister during a visit to Ukraine. This reassessment marks a turning point after a Russian missile exploded just 500 meters away from the convoy carrying Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Zelensky in Odesa, Ukraine, on March 6, 2024.

Following this attack, Greek media reported that Greece might supply Ukraine with its S-300PMU-1 system if it could secure the more advanced American MIM-104 Patriot system in exchange. This possibility comes after Greece initially ruled out providing the S-300, purchased by Cyprus in the 1990s but ultimately delivered to Crete to defuse a crisis with Turkey. However, it’s important to note that Greece had already made this announcement in December 2022. We refer you to the article published on December 16, 2022, by the editorial team of Army Recognition.

As a reminder, since the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, Greece has supplied Kyiv with infantry fighting vehicles and small arms.

Frederico Borsari, a defense expert at the Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA), highlighted the significance of the potential transfer of Greek S-300s to Ukraine, particularly after the recent destruction of at least one M903 launcher for the Patriot PAC-2 air defense system by a Russian Iskander-M ballistic missile. The United States, Germany, and the Netherlands have provided Ukraine with Patriot missiles, which have successfully shot down Russian Kinzhal hypersonic missiles and several Russian military aircraft. However, Ukraine is reported to have lost at least one Patriot launcher.

Greece is also considering transferring its Tor-M1 and SA-8 Osa-AKM air defense systems to Ukraine. While the S-300 and Tor-M1 systems are of great interest to Ukraine, as repeatedly stated by President Zelensky, the Osa system is considered obsolete by the Ukrainians. Greece is ready to exchange its S-300PMU1 systems for American-made PATRIOT air defense systems, and nothing else. According to the Military Balance 2023, Greece has 21 Tor-M1 air defense systems.

The S-300PMU-1 stands out for its enhanced radar module, which provides better detection, tracking, and engagement capabilities thanks to the 30N6E fire control radar, the 76N6E low-level early warning/acquisition radar, and potentially the battalion-level 64N6E acquisition radar. It can also fire the 48N6E missile, in addition to the standard 5V55 series missiles, thus offering a significant upgrade in air defense capabilities for Ukraine amidst ongoing conflict.

The S-300PMU1 air defense missile system can engage up to 36 air targets simultaneously with 72 missiles. Data exchange between group combat assets is carried out via encrypted communication lines in radio or wire operating mode. The command and control assets and air defense missile systems can be separated by distances of up to 35 km when using repeater stations and up to 100 km when using wire communications and radio-relay stations. The S-300-PMU1 can use the launcher units 5P85TE and 5P85SE.

The TOR-M1 9A331-1, NATO code designation SA-15 Gauntlet) is a mobile, integrated surface-to-air defense missile system designed and manufactured by the Russian Defence Industry. The TOR-M1 is intended for effective defense of troops, and civilian and industrial facilities from current and future air attack weapons, primarily high-precision weapons, as well as from aircraft, helicopters, cruise missiles, guided aerial bombs, and remotely piloted vehicles. The basic component of the system is a combat vehicle mounted on a cross-country tracked chassis of the intermediate weight category. The TOR-M1 combat vehicle can detect aerial targets on the move and launch air defense missiles at two highest-threat targets from a short halt. The TOR-M1 can be shipped by any type of transport, including aircraft. The TOR-M1 is capable of operating in an intensive aerial jamming environment. The TOR-M1 combat vehicle can operate autonomously, firing from stationary positions or on the move. Set-up time is rated at 3 minutes and typical reaction time, from target detection to missile launch, is 5-8 seconds. Reaction time could range from 3.4 seconds for stationary positions to 10 seconds while on the move. Each fire unit can engage and launch missiles against two separate targets.

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