Ukrainian MiG-29 and Mi will fire the American 5-inch Zuni rockets

WASHINGTON, US — Ukraine receives new military aid from the US. On January 6th, the Department of Defense announced a new package of weapons systems that will be sent to the front. This was said by Ms. Laura Cooper, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Russia, Ukraine, and Eurasia.

Ukrainian MiG-29s and Mi will fire the American 5-inch Zuni rockets
Photo credit: Wikipedia

This military aid package is estimated at $2.85 billion. The delivery includes 50 M2-A2 Bradley fighting vehicles, 100 M-113 armored personnel carriers, and 50 anti-mine and anti-ambush vehicles. For the first time, Ukraine will receive the American 155mm Paladin self-propelled howitzer. 18 Paladin units will be delivered. Another 36 towed howitzers will leave for Kyiv.

The new military aid package also includes 250,000 rounds of 25 mm ammunition, 500 tube-launched anti-tank missiles, RIM-7 missiles, night vision devices, assault rifles, sniper rifles, spare parts, gear, and more.

Zuni rockets

Impressive is the delivery of 4,000 Zuni rockets. This missile is intended for air launch. This means that Ukrainian MiG-29 or Mi helicopters will be equipped with it. The Zuni is an air-to-air and air-to-ground missile. It is entirely possible that with this delivery, Washington will try to compensate for the shortage of air defense systems that have to deal with Russian warplanes and drones. A Zuni air-to-air missile on a Ukrainian MiG means that the remaining fighter jets of the Ukrainian Air Force can be sent into dogfights with the opposing Mikoyan and Sukhoi.

The Zuni rocket is a design from the late 1950s. However, the missile is still produced by the American representative office of MBDA. The Zuni is a 5-inch rocket and was originally developed as an unguided missile, but later, after an intense update, received laser guidance. It can be equipped with different types of warheads. It is powered by a solid-fuel rocket engine and has a short range of up to 8 km. This makes it a missile for close air combat, or in visual range.

Precision

Ms. Cooper did not specify whether the 4,000 missiles delivered to Ukraine would be unguided or laser-guided rockets. Military analysts suggest that the US will send laser-guided rockets. This makes sense if Ukrainian MiGs and Mi helicopters will have to counter Russian aircraft, drones, and ground targets.

The US uses Zuni rockets on four different air carriers – AV-8B Harriers, F/A-18 Hornets, AH-1 Cobra helicopters, and P-3 Orion aircraft. Ukraine may mount the rockets on its Mi helicopters as well. The last live test of the rocket was in 2010. A year earlier, the Zuni showed precision in firing at moving and stationary targets.

If Ukraine decides to use the Zuni rocket from the MiG-29, it will need the LAU-10 rocket pod. If the integration of the rocket is on a helicopter, the Ukrainian Air Force will need a launcher with a 28V firing pulse.

Confirmed: US integrated AGM-88 HARM into Ukrainian MiG-29s
Photo credit: MoD Ukraine

Warheads

The fact that the Zuni can carry a variety of warheads also works in Ukraine’s favor. Russian tanks are even more threatened if the Ukrainians integrate an ATAP/HEAT-FRAG warhead. This is an anti-tank warhead. Very suitable for low-flying attack helicopters. Basically, the rocket is often used to damage light vehicles. But the effect is much greater if the rocket is launched at an angle of 0° or 65°. Then the HEAT warhead has a penetration of 178mm to 457mm.

If the Zuni uses an HE warhead, the situation for the Russian armed forces becomes even more complicated. This means drilling 914 mm of reinforced concrete and penetrating 9.1 meters into the ground. The last characteristic shows that the fortifications of the Russian troops are also seriously threatened by large-scale destruction.

In the HE warhead configuration the protective deck plates of the Russian tanks will be destroyed as they fall into Class B armor which is in the Zuni’s counter characteristics.

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