Spain reinforces Ukraine’s air defenses with two 50 km range SAMs
MADRID ($1=0.98 Euros) — Ukraine will receive a new supply of anti-aircraft missile systems from an allied country. Spain will strengthen Ukraine’s air defense with the delivery of two surface-to-air systems. This was officially announced by Spanish Defense Minister Mrs. Margarita Robles on November 10th.
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It is about sending two Raytheon MIM-23 HAWK American medium-range surface-to-air missiles. Spain has already supplied Ukraine with four of the same systems. The delivery means Washington has agreed to Madrid sending MIM-23 HAWKs, which will be taken out of the Spanish military’s inventory.
The announcement of the delivery of an additional two MIM-23 HAWK surface-to-air launchers from Spain comes almost a month after NATO Secretary General Mr. Jens Stoltenberg announced the delivery of the first four. On October 13th, Robles announced that Spain would assist Ukraine with the four missile launchers.
The two additional MIM-23 HAWK anti-aircraft systems will benefit Kyiv. Ukraine has a strong need for much more advanced air defense systems, however. So far, the only impressive thing is the NASAMS air defense systems that the US promised and delivered. Currently, Ukraine relies primarily on its own and donated [as many as are left after nine months of the war] missile systems of Soviet design, primarily the S-300 and Buk-M.
With the delivery of the MIM-23 HAWK, Ukraine once again receives an outdated and unresponsive missile launcher. The HAWK is an American design from the Iron Curtain and Cold War eras. The system was developed in the late 1950s and entered service in 1960.
The range of the MIM-23 HAWK is between 45 and 50 km, and the missile, powered by a solid-fuel rocket engine, can reach a maximum speed of Mach 2.4. The missile can fly at a maximum height of 20 km. The guidance system is semi-active radar homing.
However, the MIM-23 HAWK has combat experience. The conflicts of the last 40-50 years are a period during which the missile system has had successes and failures. In recent years, it was actively used in the war in Iraq and Libya, and in Libya, the government in Tripoli received them as a donation from Turkey.
Spain is not indifferent to the war in Ukraine. Almost every month, military transport planes take off from Madrid delivering ammunition, supplies, medical equipment, etc. Spain has been very active in supplying artillery ammunition in recent months amid the weeks-long artillery war between Ukraine and Russia.
Madrid was ready to donate Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine. Funding was found through European Union funds. However, Ukraine refused the donation because the condition of the tanks was so bad that possible repairs did not guarantee their performance.
Spain’s donation of the MIM-23 HAWK to Ukraine is not the only thing the Spanish are doing in the area of air defense. Aspide surface-to-air missiles were announced as a donation to Ukraine in mid-summer. The range of this air defense system was also within 40 km, but the missile strikes at a higher speed – Mach 4, which makes it difficult to intercept.
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