‘The Russian bagel’: Why the Tor-M2U air defense system is a class apart

The Victory Day Parade will be help on May 9. The Tor-M2U air defense system  will be one of the main machines to feature in the parade.

The Victory Day Parade will be help on May 9. The Tor-M2U air defense system will be one of the main machines to feature in the parade.

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On the eve of the Victory Day Parade on Red Square, RBTH visits the Kupol factory, which produces the unique short-range Tor-M2U air defense systems, and finds out why the weapon named in honor of the Norse god of thunder and lightning is called the "Russian bagel."

The Tor-M2U air defense system, which some experts say is named in honor of the Norse god of thunder and lightning Thor, will be one of the main machines to feature in the May 9 parade on Moscow’s Red Square. The system is designed to destroy enemy weapons at short rangeas they fly towards their targetat a radius of 15 kilometers (9.3 miles).

RBTH visited the factory that produces the Tor-M2U and found out what this unique system is capable of.

What is the Tor-M2U air defense missile system?

The Tor-M2U air defense missile system is produced at the Kupol factory (part of the Almaz-Antey military space defense concern) in the city of Izhevsk (750 miles east of Moscow). Today the company is one of the key suppliers in the world's defense industry.

"The Tor-M2Us are unique systems that are capable of countering any attack weapon. In September 2015 we conducted successful tests, destroying the potential enemy's rockets moving at a speed of 25 km/h [an imitation of a moving armored vehicle column – RBTH]," said Kupol's general director Fanil Ziyatdinov.

Under the machine's hatch there are eight vertical missiles that in just a matter of seconds are capable of destroying any air target at a distance of 1-15 kilometers. The system can strike anything – guided missiles, ballistic or winged missiles, air bombs, homing missiles fired from precision weapons, airplanes (fighters and attack aircraft), helicopters and reconnaissance and attack drones.

According to Ziyatdinov, the air defense system's possibility to maintain ceaseless fire as it is moving makes the Tor-M2U the best in its class.

"The machine can resist temperature changes from -50 to +50 Celsius and can withstand the potential enemy's attempts at interfering with its radio frequencies. The system detects up to 48 targets and can maintain fire on four objects in circular range," he explained.

Ziyatdinov also noted that since 2008 the production of the Tor-M2U has increased significantly, with supplies going to both the domestic and foreign markets. Currently, the concern is trying to adapt the system to ships and to destroying potential enemy missiles above the water's surface.

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But it's still a bagel

According to an RBTH source in Russia's defense industry, the Tor is different from similar systems in that one single chassis contains all the system's components: locators for target detection, support and guidance, as well as destruction systems.

"This machine comes on a crawler or a wheeled chassis, it can be put on railway platforms or on ships. It is universal and can destroy any target with precision of 97 out of 100," added the expert.

He claimed that not one system in the world offers such possibilities, neither the American Chaparral, nor the British Rapier, nor the Franco-German Roland-5, not even the French Crotale NG.

In his words, the system is named in honor of the Torus geometrical figure or, as ordinaryRussians say, a bublik (bagel), which gathers the debris of the striking part of Tor's missile as it is flying towards its target.

However, other experts insist that the system was named in honor of the belligerent Norse god of thunder and lightning, Thor.

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