The Russian-made 42S6 Morpheus air defense system is considered an “Iron Dome clone”, it is said to be the most effective weapon against HIMARS Ukraine missiles at the moment.
On the Donbass battlefield, the Ukrainian Army’s M142 HIMARS guided rocket artillery systems with US-aid GMLRS missiles are “storming”, causing Russian soldiers a lot of damage. HIMARS is being seen as a weapon that changes the battlefield, destroying countless ammunition depots, making it impossible for Russian artillery to fire as freely as at the beginning of the second phase of the campaign.
Dealing with the M142 HIMARS’ GMLRS has been considered the most difficult task, because complexes such as the S-400, Buk-M3, Pantsir-S1, or Tor-M2 do not have such expertise in intercepting ballistic targets. The GMLRS missile plunged from an altitude of 22 km at high speed, with a small radar cross section, so it could only be detected at close range, and Russian air defenses had very little time to intercept it.
Russia clearly needs an anti-aircraft missile system that specializes in intercepting ballistic targets, similar to Israel’s Iron Dome. Russia tested a similar weapon in Syria in 2018. Based on satellite images taken from the Hmeimim base at the end of July 2018, military experts confirmed that Russia has brought here the latest 42S6 Morpheus anti-aircraft missile system. It is known that the 42S6 Morpheus short-range air defense missile system began to be developed in 2007, researched and manufactured by the Experimental Design Department of the Almaz-Antey Arms Corporation.
Morpheus is designed to protect critical targets. This system can eliminate any target within an effective range of 6 km. The system is equipped with 29YA6 multi-purpose radar mounted on the 70N6 combat vehicle. In addition, this complex is also equipped with an infrared station, while the system control center will be located on the BAZ or Tiger combat vehicle.
In terms of launchers, they are also placed on the 70N6 combat vehicle. The missiles are fired from vertical launch tubes. Each launcher can carry up to 16 missiles. The missile is 9M338K with a maximum range of about 6 km and an altitude of about 3.5 km, which can be used to destroy UAVs, artillery shells, mortars … so their features are very similar to Israel’s Iron Dome.
However, during the deployment in Syria, the 42S6 Morpheus air defense complex did not launch any projectiles into the sky and was brought home very quickly, information about it has also disappeared since then. There is information that the test has failed. That fact shows that it is very unlikely that the 42S6 Morpheus air defense complex will be deployed to the Donbass battlefield in the near future to test the GMLRS missile interception of the M142 HIMARS system.