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Ukrainian Air Force demonstrates use of its MIM-23 HAWK air defense missiles

Militarnyi brodcasted a video of the Ukrainian Air Force released by the Commander of the Ukrainian Air Force, Lieutenant General Mykola Oleschuk demonstrating its use of the MIM-23 HAWK air defense missiles. This air defense system shot down aerial targets during the Russian shelling of Ukraine on the night of Monday, October 23.
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Firing of a MIM-23 HAWK air defense missile (Picture source: Twitter account of murphman61)

The first US-made MIM-23 HAWK anti-aircraft missile systems arrived in Ukraine last year. They were transferred by Spain as part of military aid. In 2022, Spain promised to send six such Hawk systems and in early October 2023, the Spanish government announced plans to transfer six more M-192 launchers for MIM-23 HAWK anti-aircraft missiles to Ukraine.

In July 2023, the United States of America purchased from Taiwan decommissioned MIM-23 HAWKs in the Phase III modification for Ukraine. However, at that time, the Ministry of National Defense of Taiwan did not confirm this information.

Raytheon MIM-23 HAWK

The Raytheon MIM-23 HAWK("Homing All the Way Killer") 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 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. 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Hawk was superseded by the MIM-104 Patriot in US Army service by 1994.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, including Ukraine since 2022. Approximately 40,000 of the missiles were produced.

Defense News October 2023

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