Videos Appear to Show Ukrainian Pilots Conducting High-Risk Wild Weasel Tactic

The possible launch of the AGM-88 HARM from the MiG-29 of the Ukrainian Air Force / Illustrative render by Calcalist
The possible launch of the AGM-88 HARM from the MiG-29 of the Ukrainian Air Force / Illustrative render by Calcalist

Ukraine's pilots are flying high-risk Wild Weasel missions first developed in the Vietnam War by the USAF

The Wild Weasel tactic, involving pilots deliberately exposing themselves to enemy radar and then swiftly attacking it, was employed by American military personnel to destroy enemy air defense systems, as reported by Business Insider.

"The strategy involves jet pilots luring enemy antiaircraft defenses into targeting them with their radars. The radar waves are then traced back to their source, and the Ukrainian pilots retaliate with weapons like the US-made AGM-88 High-speed Anti-Radiation Missiles (HARMs) before the russians van lock onto them with surface-to-air missiles (SAMs)," the publication notes.

Read more: ​Firing AGM-88 HARM From MiG-29 and Su-27 Enabled by iPad

In Ukrainian reality, the anti-radiation missile AGM-88 HARM detects the location of the radar, homes in on it, and neutralizes it. All of this occurs faster than the russian air defense system can launch a surface-to-air missile against the fighter jet.

The US Air Force pioneered SEAD tactics in the Vietnam War. So-called wild weasel aircraft were tasked with destroying enemy air defense radars to clear the way for attack aircraft to fly through. The F-4 Phantom II aircraft had radar receivers that detected the location of the air defense system.

The HARM missile, integrated into Soviet aircraft in Ukraine, has a range of approximately 150 km. It can detect and strike radar even after the radar station is turned off.

AGM-88 HARM under wing of a Ukrainian Su-27, Defense Express
AGM-88 HARM under wing of a Ukrainian Su-27

"Ukraine clearly is learning from Western military thought," Frederik Mertens, a Strategic Analyst at The Hague Centre for Strategic Studies, told Business Insider. "Ukraine is putting great emphasis on SEAD and DEAD missions."

These missions can be "very dangerous". But the russian air defenses are a "key target." "This game is worth the candle," Mertens said.

From special forces raids to land-launched missiles like GMLRS and ATACMS as well as UAVs of all sorts, "Ukrainians use all weapons, troops, and systems they have at their disposal to suppress and destroy russian air defenses," Mertens said.

However, operations are extremely dangerous. russians have already adapted to the presence of HARM on Ukrainian aircraft. Therefore, analyst Justin Bronk from the RUSI center believes that the missiles are used as a means of suppressing enemy air defenses (SEAD).

When launched, "the missiles force russian SAM operators to turn off their radars and relocate to avoid being hit by them," Bronk said. "This leaves a short window within which other strike systems like HIMARS rockets or Storm Shadow missiles can get through to nearby targets with much less risk of being intercepted by the russian SAMs."

Video screenshot by OSINTtechnical
Video screenshot by OSINTtechnical
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