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Ukraine Uses British ASRAAM Missiles on Supacat Truck to Down Russian Kamikaze Drones

In a recent video shared across social media platforms on October 12, 2023, Ukrainian forces reportedly neutralized a Russian Geran kamikaze drone, also known as Shaded-136, using for the first time ASRAAM IR air-to-air missile launcher system mounted on a Supacat HMT truck.
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Ukrainian forces use a British-made new air defense system based on Supacat HMT vehicle armed with ASRAAM missiles to intercept Russian Geran kamikaze drones. (Picture source Video footage)

Previously, in August 2023, there were discussions in the UK about the potential transfer of a novel short-range air defense system to Ukraine. This system was based on the British-manufactured Supacat HMT truck chassis and was equipped with a ground-based version of the ASRAAM IR air-to-air missiles. This innovative air defense missile system is a joint venture between the British Ministry of Defense and MBDA, a renowned missile systems producer. Notably, Ukraine stands as the inaugural military force globally to deploy this avant-garde air defense mechanism.

The ASRAAM, or Advanced Short Range Air-to-Air Missile, is an infrared-guided missile primarily used by the Royal Air Force (RAF) and the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). Crafted to intercept and neutralize adversarial aircraft within short distances, the ASRAAM can be fired from a variety of platforms, including fighter aircraft, helicopters, and drones.

Originally conceived as an airborne weapon, the AIM-132 ASRAAM system has showcased remarkable versatility in ground-launch situations. This flexibility stems from its advanced off-boresight (HOBS) seeker combined with a lock-on-after-launch (LOAL) feature, supported by a data link. Such attributes empower the missile to proficiently identify, pursue, and neutralize targets, even if they aren't directly aligned with the missile's trajectory.

The British Advanced Short-Range Air-to-Air Missile (ASRAAM) is a highly agile, heat-seeking missile designed for air-to-air combat. It is primarily utilized by the Royal Air Force (RAF) and the Royal Navy's Fleet Air Arm.

The ASRAAM missile can be mounted on various platforms, including aircraft and ground-based systems. While it is typically integrated into fighter aircraft such as the Eurofighter Typhoon and the F-35 Lightning II, it can also be mounted on ground platforms like the Supacat High Mobility Transporter (HMT) truck.

The Supacat HMT is a versatile, off-road military vehicle used for a range of purposes, including reconnaissance, troop transport, and command and control. Its high mobility and payload capacity make it apt for carrying and launching missile systems.

When the ASRAAM missile is mounted on a Supacat HMT truck, it offers a mobile and flexible air defense capability. The truck can swiftly transport the missile to various locations, enabling a rapid response to threats. Moreover, the ASRAAM missile's advanced targeting and guidance systems, coupled with the Supacat HMT's stability and maneuverability, render it an effective platform for engaging enemy aircraft.

The ASRAAM is equipped with a state-of-the-art infrared homing seeker, which is sensitive to both mid-wave and long-wave infrared emissions. This dual-band capability enhances its ability to detect and track targets against a variety of backgrounds, including the ground, sky, and sea. The missile's propulsion system is based on a solid rocket motor, which provides it with a high thrust-to-weight ratio, enabling it to reach high speeds in a short amount of time.

The missile's airframe is designed for minimal drag, ensuring optimal aerodynamic performance. This design, combined with thrust-vectoring controls, grants the ASRAAM exceptional agility, allowing it to outmaneuver opposing countermeasures and enemy missiles. Its data-link capability facilitates mid-course guidance updates, enhancing its accuracy and allowing for more flexible engagement strategies.

Internally, the ASRAAM is equipped with a sophisticated electronic counter-countermeasures (ECCM) suite, which helps it resist jamming and other electronic warfare tactics employed by adversaries. Its warhead is optimized for defeating modern aircraft, utilizing a proximity fuse to ensure detonation at the optimal moment for maximum effect against the target.

In terms of range, while the ASRAAM is classified as a short-range missile, its effective engagement envelope extends beyond visual range (BVR), allowing pilots to engage threats before they become visually apparent. Citing open source information, it has a range of up to 25 km and can reach a maximum speed of Mach 3.

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