06/10/2011

Libya Khrizantema-S



"National Transitional Council fighters fire against troops loyal to Moamer Kadhafi as they close in on the town of Sirte on October 05, 2011."
A number of photographs reportedly showing anti-Gadaffi forces on 05/10/2011 on the frontline near Sirte show them in possession of a state of the art Khrizantema-S tank destroyer.  This is thought to be one of only three examples delivered to the Libyan Army by Russia prior to the civil war and subsequent UN arms embargo.


The Khrizantema-S is based around the 9K123 missile system which is mounted on a modified BMP-3 chassis.  The main element of this system is 9M123/AT-15 Springer missile. variants of this missile are either laser or radar guided, contain either a tandem HEAT warhead (to counteract tank slat or [explosive] reactive armour) or a thermobaric warhead for unarmoured targets.   This system represents one of the most advanced and capable anti tank systems in operation. It was due to enter service production in 2003/2004 for the Russian Army, however few if any are believed to be in operational service.   Libya is the only known export customer and even this  was not known about until recently.


A useful video demonstrating a [Russian operated]] Khrizantema-S in action, including the various elements being deployed can be found here


The lack of deployed radar might suggest that this missile is being laser guided via a unit on the front of the vehicle, which in the majority of photos appears to be deployed.  However it is worth considering that an unexperienced operator would or could fire it unguided.
In 2009/2010 Russia and Libya agreed a large arms deal, reportedly worth $1.8million (USD).  The exact types and quantities are not fully know although a number of anti-ship missiles and advanced Yak-130 jet trainer/light attack aircraft were believed to be included (SIPRI).  However this lone vehicles is the only clear visual evidence of any modern equipment being actually by Russia delivered prior to the conflict, although smaller arms and ammunition may of gone unnoticed.


Last month a Russian media source reported that three Khrizantema-S had been delivered to Libya (Когда говорят премьеры, пушки молчат / English Translation).  It is unknown how many more were due to be delivered or the fate of the other two units.  Furthermore it is not certain if this vehicle was captured at some other time or place or during the advance to Sirte.  In the case of the latter, it could indicate that loyalist forces have managed to retain/kept back some of their more potent and advanced weaponry.


A T-55 tank firing its main gun with the front of the Khrizantema-S visible in the foreground 


Note that the absence of the missile mounts in this picture is due to the systems retraction and housing within the chassis when not in use or for the purposes of automatic reloading.


Whilst this system provides anti-Gadaffi forces the means to disable any remaining loyalist armour over a long range in open terrain, it is unclear if they appreciate what they have captured or if they have either the technical ability and/or missile rounds available to deploy it to any great effect.







No comments:

Post a Comment

Post a Comment