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​The Ukrainian Air Force Showcased the HAWK Air Defense System for the First Time, Which Demonstrated a 100% Success Rate

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The HAWK surface-to-air missile system / open source
The HAWK surface-to-air missile system / open source

The substantial delay between the announcement of the transfer of the HAWK system and the release of the first video showcasing its operation might indeed suggest that Ukraine received an updated version of the system rather than an older one

Despite the fact that information about the transfer of the HAWK surface-to-air missile systems to Ukraine had reported a year ago, including an agreement reached with Spain on four such systems, only now the Air Force demonstrated its functionality.

In a video from the Commander of the Ukrainian Air Force, Mykola Oleshchuk, the launch of two missiles is shown during the nighttime attack on October 23. Based on the footage, this missiles successfully downed two targets, either over the sea or a reservoir.

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Update: the original video was taken down on Telegram, here's the same hosted by Facebook

Considering that the russians launched 13 Shahed-136 drones over Ukraine tonight, as reported by Oleh Kiper, the head of the Odesa Regional State Administration, with nine of them being destroyed in the Odesa region, in addition to intercepting one Kh-59 missile and an unidentified drone. It’s likely that the HAWK system intercepted two Shahed-136 drones. This achievement, as highlighted by Mykola Oleshchuk, was accomplished with a 100% success rate.

It should be mentioned that compared to modern medium-range air defense systems such as NASAMS or IRIS-T SLM, the MIM-23 HAWK, even in its Improved Phase III variant, is considered an outdated air defense system. Originally introduced into service in the United States in 1960, it served as the primary air defense system for NATO countries throughout the entirety of the Cold War and is still utilized by over 10 nations.

Defense Express The Ukrainian Air Force Showcased the HAWK Air Defense System for the First Time, Which Demonstrated a 100% Success Rate

The complex itself is quite intricate and comprises several components, including the AN/MPQ-50 surveillance radar system with a target detection range of up to 100 kilometers, the AN/MPQ-62 low-altitude target detection radar system, the AN/MPQ-61 target illumination radar, a command center, launchers (typically three per target illumination radar) and loading vehicles.

The range for engaging targets with semi-active radar-guided surface-to-air missiles is approximately 45-50 kilometers, and it can intercept targets at altitudes of up to 20 kilometers. The missile is equipped with a relatively powerful warhead weighing 74 kilograms.

However, despite its antiquity, the primary advantage of this complex lies in its mass production. Over 40,000 missiles have been manufactured for this system, which indicates a significant and sustained resource for uninterrupted supplies to Ukraine.

Importantly, the HAWK system can be upgraded to a more contemporary standard. There is a version known as HAWK XXI, which is currently in service with Turkey. In this version, outdated surveillance radar have been replaced with the modern AN/MPQ-64 Sentinel radar, and digitalization of the command center has been carried out to enhance the system’s responsiveness and its integration into automated management and data transmission systems.

Defense Express The Ukrainian Air Force Showcased the HAWK Air Defense System for the First Time, Which Demonstrated a 100% Success Rate

It is quite possible that the significant delay between the announcement of the transfer and the initial demonstration of the HAWK system in the Armed Forces of Ukraine is indeed related to this kind of upgrade.

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