Burning Like Hell! Ukraine Destroys Russia’s ‘Very Rare’ TOR-M2DT Defense System; Kyiv Taunts By Saying ‘Burned Brightly’

On February 3, the Ukrainian Defense Ministry released a video showing what appears to be a Russian Tor-M2DT anti-aircraft missile system getting destroyed by the Ukrainian military.

In aerial footage shared by the ministry, the Russian surface-to-air missile system Tor-M2DT is seen being destroyed by Ukrainian gunners. The Ukrainian military most likely obtained the exact coordinates of the Russian system through a drone. 

The video illustrates how the shell struck the front portion of the two-track tracked chassis after the first impact. With fire extinguishers in hand, several Russian soldiers rushed outside and attempted to douse the flames.

After that, the Ukrainian military fired again. The ammunition landed a few meters away from the Russian air defense system this time, possibly killing the Russian crew.

The Ukrainian Defense ministry mocked Russia by saying that the Arctic Tor-M2DT air defense system became the focus of Russian television after being deployed to Ukraine but that “soon a Ukrainian drone introduced it to Ukrainian gunners.” “It burned brightly. The fire extinguisher did not help,” the ministry tweeted. 

This is reportedly the first documented destruction of the Russian air defense system, which Ukraine Weapons Tracker analysts note was mainly designed for use in Arctic conditions.

Ukraine Weapons Tracker first shared the footage on Twitter on February 2. According to the account, the Tor-M2DT was hit with an M982 Excalibur, a high-precision GPS-guided weapon that the United States had given to the Ukrainian army.

The first Tor-M2DT air defense systems were deployed to Ukraine by the Russian Armed Forces in early December, according to multiple media outlets. 

An open-source intelligence account on Twitter reported that the Arctic missile defense system was situated outside of Chelburda, a settlement in the Kherson region of southern Ukraine. 

The Armed Forces of Ukraine hit a rare Russian “Arctic” Tor-M2DT air defense system in the Kherson region

Since the commencement of the war in Ukraine, Russian soldiers have concentrated heavy bombardments in the Kherson region. Kherson was the first large territory to fall to Ukrainian counteroffensives in November. 

However, the Russian military has continued to bombard the city in southern Ukraine despite the withdrawal of soldiers to “degrade civilian morale,” according to the most recent report from the British Ministry of Defense.

“Arctic” Tor-M2DT Air Defense System 

The Russian military unveiled the defense system, a Tor-M2DT anti-aircraft missile system, in May 2017 during Moscow’s annual Victory Day parade. It is a short-range air defense system made specifically to function in Arctic settings, says the website Army Recognition.

It was announced in 2018 that Russian forces in the Arctic and far north of the nation would be armed with the Tor-M2DT autonomous short-range anti-aircraft missile system.

At the time, the defense ministry said that the Tor-M2DT system, which is geared to harsh climatic conditions, is designed to function in extremely low temperatures and challenging terrain.

Russia has increased efforts to exploit the region’s resources and seek a polar shipping route. Therefore, it is bolstering defenses there.

It is modeled on the DT-30PM tracked all-terrain vehicle’s chassis, which comprises two tracked vehicle units connected by a steering system. 

Tor-M2DT air defense system

The TOR-M2 missile launcher station is transported by the secondary vehicle. Russian company JSC Izhevsk Electromechanical Plant Kupol (a subsidiary of Almaz-Antey Concern) manufactured the TOR-M2DT.

According to the Company Tekhnodinamika, the polar military outposts established in the Russian Arctic from Frantz Josef Land to Chukotka can be effectively protected by the Arctic variant of the TOR short-range air defense missile system.

The Tor-M2DT is equipped with a Tor-M2 missile launcher station installed on the roof of the second DT-30PM-T1 all-terrain amphibious vehicle. A 25-kilometer 360° search radar is positioned at the back of the TOR-M2 turret, and a 15-kilometer 60° tracking radar is installed at the front.

The Tor-M2 missile launching station can simultaneously engage up to 48 processed and ten tracked targets. 

The missile has a maximum range of 12 kilometers at altitudes between 10 and 1,000 meters. It is capable of destroying air targets such as aircraft, helicopters, cruise missiles, guided aerial missiles and bombs, and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) flying at medium, low, and extremely low altitudes in the presence of heavy air and electronic countermeasures.

The only unit equipped with such air defense devices was the 80th Separate Arctic Motor Rifle Brigade of the Russian Navy’s Coastal Troops. The Russians reportedly have 12 Tor-M2DT SAM systems as of the year 2020.