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Russia claims to have destroyed MIM-23 Hawk air defense system in Ukraine

On April 23, 2024, the Russian Ministry of Defense announced that it had targeted and destroyed a launcher of the MIM-23 HAWK air defense system belonging to the Ukrainian armed forces on April 22, 2024, in the Kharkiv region.
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US MIM-23 Hawk air defense system (Picture source: Army Recognition)

Operational/tactical aircraft, missile troops, and artillery from Russian forces reportedly jointly destroyed a launcher of the US-made MIM-23 Hawk surface-to-air missile system as well as a drone storage facility of the 113th Territorial Defense Brigade.

The HAWK system, or MIM-23, is a surface-to-air missile designed to intercept targets at low to medium altitudes. It is employed by numerous countries including France, Greece, Iran, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, the Netherlands, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Spain, South Korea, Sweden, Taiwan, Turkey, Ukraine, and the United Arab Emirates.

The HAWK is powered by a dual-thrust solid-fuel rocket motor, providing sufficient acceleration and range for intercepting aerial targets. It is equipped with explosive warheads, the weights of which vary depending on the model, providing effective destructive capability against aerial threats.

To guide the missile to its target, the HAWK system utilizes a semi-active radar-homing guidance system with proportional navigation. This technology allows for a precise trajectory toward the target, thereby enhancing the chances of a successful interception.

In terms of performance, the HAWK missile can reach a maximum speed of Mach 2.7, enabling it to quickly respond to approaching aerial threats. Its compact dimensions, with a length of 5.08 meters, a diameter of 0.37 meters, and a wing span of 1.19 meters, make it a relatively mobile weapons system adaptable to various operational environments.

In 2023, international support for Ukraine included the delivery of several HAWK air defense systems. Specifically, Spain announced the shipment of twelve HAWK air defense systems to Ukraine, six of which had already been delivered. These efforts are part of a broader commitment to support Ukraine amidst ongoing conflicts.

Additionally, the U.S. has included HAWK system missiles in its security assistance packages to Ukraine, although it has not been specified how many systems or missiles in total have been sent.

The Hawk air defense system, or MIM-23, is critically important for Ukraine in the current context of its conflict with Russia. This technology enables Ukraine to enhance its air defense capabilities against Russian aerial attacks, including fighter jets, helicopters, and cruise missiles. As a medium-range surface-to-air missile system, the Hawk can intercept targets flying at low and medium altitudes, which is vital for the protection of critical infrastructure and civilian areas. Additionally, its deployment helps to fill gaps in Ukraine's radar coverage, thereby providing a more robust defense against a variety of aerial threats.


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