Spanish Army receives first updated Hawk 21 air defense missiles


According to B. Carrasco in IndoDefensa, the Regiment of Anti-Aircraft Artillery (RAAA) 74 of the Spanish Army has recently received its first updated Hawk missile systems, after an overhaul process carried out in Greece. This program is expected to increase the operational availability of this weapon system and is part of the actions to "extend its life cycle beyond 2030".
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Battery of updated Spanish Hawk 21 air defense missiles (Picture source: Spanish Army)


The reconditioning process involves digitizing the electronic components of the tracking radars and launchers of the analog group to make them more reliable with cutting-edge digital technology. This is one of the actions put in place to extend the life of the Hawk system, but it is not the only one.

Within the plans to extend its service until at least 2030, the RAAA 74 is working on a study for the replacement in the medium term, around 2025, of the exploration radars that the system currently uses by the Sentinel radar, which is already endowed in the Spanish Armed Forces. This jump to the version known as Hawk 21 is an initial proposal in a still initial phase.

The Raytheon MIM-23 Hawk is an American medium-range surface-to-air missile. It was designed to be a much more mobile counterpart to the MIM-14 Nike Hercules, trading off the range and altitude capability for a much smaller size and weight. Its low-level performance was greatly improved over Nike through the adoption of new radars and a continuous wave semi-active radar homing guidance system. It entered service with the US Army in 1959.

In 1971, it underwent a major improvement program as the Improved Hawk, or I-Hawk, which made several improvements to the missile and replaced all of the radar systems with new models. Improvements continued throughout the next twenty years, adding improved ECCM, a potential home-on-jam feature, and in 1995, a new warhead that made it capable against short-range tactical missiles. Jane's reported that the original system's single shot kill probability was 0.56; I-Hawk improved this to 0.85.

Hawk was superseded by the MIM-104 Patriot in US Army service by 1994. The last US user was the US Marine Corps, who used theirs until 2002 when they were replaced with the man-portable short-range FIM-92 Stinger. The missile was also produced outside the US in Western Europe, Japan and Iran. The US never used the Hawk in combat, but it has been employed numerous times by other nations. Approximately 40,000 of the missiles were produced.


 

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