US to refurbish Mach 2.4 surface-to-air missiles and deliver to Ukraine

WASHINGTON — The United States will deliver new military equipment to Ukraine. The US Department of Defense announced this on November 10th. The aid amounts to 400 million USD. Thousands of rockets, missile systems, mortar shells, light infantry vehicles, optics, and nearly 20 million rounds of small arms ammunition are included in the announced military aid package.

US to refurbish Mach 2.4 surface-to-air missiles and deliver to Ukraine hawk missile
Photo credit: Army Spc. Adam Garlington

One of the weapons announced for delivery is HAWK missiles. recalls that recently the Minister of Defense of Spain Mrs. Margarita Robles announced the delivery of HAWK missile launchers. Washington said the intended delivery of the Hawk missiles to Ukraine would supplement the delivery to the Spanish government.

Mrs. Sabrina Singh, Deputy Pentagon Press Secretary said that Russia continues to carry out air attacks on Ukrainian infrastructure and Ukraine needs HAWK missiles. The US will withdraw the missiles from its inventory, but Singh said that before they are sent, all must be thoroughly inspected and refurbished.

Mach 2.4

This means that Spain may delay the delivery of the launchers, as once the HAWK missiles are upgraded, they must be paired with the Spanish launchers. Singh stressed that funds from the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative will finance the modernization of the missiles.

The HAWK is a short-range missile that flies at a maximum speed of Mach 2.4. It entered service for the first time in August 1960. Unlike many other more than 60-year-old weapons and systems, the HAWK continues to be in service, including with the US military. The maximum range of the missile is up to 50 km.

The HAWK missile uses semi-active radar homing (SARH). This should not surprise us, since SARH is very often used to guide surface-to-air and air-to-air missiles. SARH means the missile is a passive radar detector. Semi-active missile systems use bistatic continuous-wave radar.

SAMP/T, too?

The delivery of HAWK missiles is good news for the Ukrainian armed forces and their defense. Perhaps better news will be the delivery of another, much more advanced and modern as well as highly effective anti-aircraft missile system. This is the SAMP/T surface-to-air anti-aircraft missile system.

Italy is considering donating a SAMP/T SAM system to Ukraine
Pkote credit: Twitter

France defined a month ago as disinformation the possible delivery of SAMP/T to Ukraine. The Ministry of Defense said that “SAMP/T is not part of France’s plans”. Mr. Volodomir Zelensky has repeatedly called for the delivery of such a system. His appeals are likely to be heard as Italy is rumored to be ready to make a similar delivery.

The information at the moment is an assumption based on comments among the political circles in Rome after the inauguration of the new government of Italy with Prime Minister Mrs. Giorgia Meloni. This air defense system has fairly serious French participation. Three companies are involved in its development – MBDA France, MBDA Italy, and Thales France. I.e. again, France would have to authorize Italy’s eventual dispatch to the front.

The reason for the French hesitation is not related to quantities or fears of system failure. Paris likely does not want to give the Russian armed forces a chance to gain access to SAMP/T technology in the event of capture.


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