Russia’s Ministry of Defense update on Wednesday boasted of shooting down Ukrainian drones over the Donetsk region using Tor-M2 missiles which cost $800,000 each, about 30 times the price of their target.

A post on Wednesday sang the praises of the activities of the Tor-M2 (NATO designation SA-15 “Gauntlet”) anti-aircraft missile system of the 5th Combined-Arms Army of the Vostok Group of Forces on operations in Ukraine. It said that the air defense crews “continue to perform their tasks of destroying air targets and protecting troops of the special military operation from enemy air attacks in South Donetsk.”

It went on: “In recent days alone, the Tor-M2 surface-to-air missile systems from the Eastern Military Districts formations have shot down over twenty enemy attack, reconnaissance and kamikaze drones.”


It ends with the rallying call “Anything is possible with the Tor SAM [surface-to-air missile] system; it can repel air strikes even while moving. The anti-aircraft missiles of the Vostok Group of Forces always reach their target.”

The story was taken up by the Russian state news agency TASS which quoted the commander of one of the Tor-M2 missile teams only referred to by his call sign “Fourteenth” claiming that Ukrainian forces are launching drones with corner reflectors attached to them, but “We can detect them even though their characteristics differ from ordinary drones.”

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The article then goes on to extol the technical capabilities of the TOR-M2 missile system, which is undoubtedly an excellent all-weather, low-to-medium-altitude, short-range surface-to-air missile system capable of engaging four targets at once.

What both the Russian ministry and TASS failed to mention is that the cost of each of the 16 9M338K missiles carried by the TOR-M2 vehicle costs the equivalent of $800,000 each, while the most expensive Ukrainian UAV is worth around $30,000.


The TOR-m2 vehicle itself costs around $25 million and both Russian sites also fail to mention that even cheaper Ukrainian first-person view (FPV) drones have destroyed the much-vaunted missile launchers on at least half a dozen separate occasions this year – in March, April, October and two weeks ago near Kupyansk along with an estimate of the same number being destroyed by artillery and HIMARS strikes.

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