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Tor (SA-15 Gauntlet)

Short-range air defense system

Tor (SA-15 Gauntlet)

The Tor SAM system can engage all kinds of air targets, including precision guided munitions

Entered service 1986
Crew 3 men
Dimensions and weight
Weight 32 t
Length ~ 8 m
Width ~ 3.2 m
Height (in combat order) ~ 4 m
Missile length 2.89 m
Missile diameter 0.23 m
Missile weight 165 kg
Warhead weight 14.8 kg
Warhead type HE-FRAG
Range of fire 5 - 12 km
Number of missiles 8
Engine V-46-2S1 diesel
Engine power 780 hp
Maximum road speed ~ 65 km/h
Range ~ 580 km
Gradient 60%
Side slope 30%
Vertical step 1 m
Trench 2 m
Fording 1 m


   The Tor (torus) is a Soviet air defense missile system. It is known in the West as SA-15 or Gauntlet. Development of this SAM system commenced in 1975. It was developed as a successor to the Osa (SA-8 Gecko). The main goal was to shoot down air launched cruise missiles. It entered service with the Soviet Army in 1986. After collapse of the Soviet Union these missile systems were passed on to Russia and Ukraine and possibly Belarus. Currently Russian Army operates 172 of these systems. It has been exported to Cyprus (6), Egypt (16), Greece (25), Iran (29) and Venezuela (12) and some other countries.

   This system can engage all kinds of modern air targets. It is used against aircraft, helicopters, UAVs, missiles and precision guided munitions. It destroys targets that long- and medium-range air defense systems fail to hit.

   The Tor combat vehicle has radar and missiles based on a single vehicle. TELAR vehicle carries 8 missiles. Missiles are launched vertically. The same launch manner was used on the S-300 long-range air defense missile system. Missiles have radio command guidance. Maximum range of fire is 5-12 km and maximum altitude is 4-6 km, depending on the target speed.

   The original Tor can engage only one target at a time. Kill probability with a single missile is 26-75% against aircraft, 50-88% against helicopters, and 85-95% against UAVs. This number depends on the target altitude. The higher the target, more chances that it will be hit.

   The Tor radar detects aircraft at a range of 25-27 km, helicopters at a range of 12 km and UAVs at a range of 9-15 km. Tracking range is about 20 km. System can search for targets while on the move. The Tor can also detect and intercept anti-radiation missiles.

   The Tor has a brief reaction time. It takes only 8-12 seconds from target detection to launch. TELAR vehicle can stop and launch its missiles within 3 minutes from travelling. However the Tor can not launch missiles on the move. It launches them from stationary position or from short stops.

   The TELAR vehicle has a crew of three, including commander, operator and driver. All systems are highly automated leaving the crew little to do.

   The TELAR vehicle is based on a GM-355 special tracked chassis. This chassis can carry a lot of payload and has good cross-country mobility. A number of other Soviet air defense vehicles were based on essentially similar chassis. It is powered by a V-46-2S1 multi-fuel diesel engine, developing 780 hp. Vehicle has a hydropneumatic suspension with adjustable ground clearance. It is fitted with auxiliary gas turbine power unit, which powers all systems when the main engine is shut down.

   Tor TELARs are supported by reloading vehicles. Reloading vehicle is based on Ural-4320 6x6 heavy truck. It is fitted with a crane and carries reload missiles. Also there are some other Ural-4320 6x6 cargo vehicles, that carry missiles. TELAR vehicle is reloaded within 18 minutes.

   This air defense missile system operates in batteries. A battery consists of 4 TELAR vehicles. Also there are reloading vehicles, trucks carrying reload missiles and other support vehicles. Since 1989 Tor battery is also supported by Ranzhir mobile command post. Usually a battery of Tor operates independently. This system can also operate with the aid of other surveillance radars.




   Tor M an improved version of the system;

   Tor M1 is a further improved version. It is based on a slightly different GM 5955 chassis. It uses improved missiles. The Tor M1 is much more effective comparing with the original Tor. It has a kill probability of 45-80% with a single missile against aircraft. Its development was completed in 1989 and it entered service in 1991. The Tor M1 has been exported to China (35 units) where it is known as HQ-17. Russia refused to co-produce these systems in China and it seems that China is developing a copy of this missile system;

   Tor M1TA version, based on a wheeled chassis. It consists of Ural-5323 or other military truck with control cabin and trailer with radar and missile launcher. The Tor M1TB is a similar system, but its control cabin is also based on a trailer. Tor M1TC is a non mobile version;

   Tor M2 further improved version of the Tor. It is claimed that it can deflect massive enemy air raids when enemy extensively uses electronic countermeasures. It entered service in 2008;

   Tor M2E is an export version of the Tor M2. It seems that this version is based on a tracked chassis. This air defense missile system is in service with Azerbaijan and Belarus;

   Tor M2K is an export version, based on Belarusian MZKT-6922 6x6 high mobility wheeled chassis. Belarus ordered 5 of these air defense systems for delivery in 2016;

  Tor M2EK (also referred as Tor M2KM). It is a modular air defense systems, that can accommodate various chassis. It was revealed in 2013. The TELAR vehicle was based on a Tata LPTA 3138 8x8 wheeled chassis;

   Tor M2U. It a recent improved version. It can launch missiles while the TEL is on the move. The Tor M2U was adopted by the Russian Army in 2012. This air defense system is based on a tracked chassis;

   Tor M2DT is a version based on the DT-30PM articulated all-terrain tracked carrier. This version is intended to operate in the arctic conditions. It was first publicly revealed in 2017;

   Kinzhal (SA-N-9 Gauntlet) shipborne air defense system. It was developed alongside the Tor and has a number of interchangeable components. It entered service with the Soviet Navy in 1989. It is installed on some Soviet ship classes, notably the Kuznetsov class aircraft carrier, Kirov class cruisers, Udaloy class destroyers and Neustrashymij class frigates. The system was also retrofited to some older ships.


Video of the Tor short-range air defense missile system

Tor (SA-15 Gauntlet)

Tor (SA-15 Gauntlet)

Tor (SA-15 Gauntlet)

Tor (SA-15 Gauntlet)

Tor (SA-15 Gauntlet)

Tor (SA-15 Gauntlet)

Tor (SA-15 Gauntlet)

Tor (SA-15 Gauntlet)

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