Ukraine already uses a British Supacat 6×6 firing AIM-132 AAM

In a notable development, the Ukrainian Armed Forces have unveiled their first video showcasing the effective deployment of a new air defense system. This system, acquired from the United Kingdom, leverages the power of AIM-132 ASRAAM short-range air-to-air missiles with an infrared guidance system as a potent deterrent against anti-aircraft missiles. 

The video demonstrates the operation of twin self-propelled missile launchers, strategically positioned on a British Supacat HMT military vehicle with a 6×6 configuration. Launched in swift succession, the ASRAAM missiles counteract Geran-2 munitions effectively.

The launcher

Ukraine already uses a UK Supacat HMT 6x6 firing AIM-132 missiles
Photo credit: Twitter

In the past, Britain provided the Ukrainian military with “several” launchers from a swiftly constructed and modified anti-aircraft missile system, which prominently featured the short-range air-to-air AIM-132 ASRAAM. 

Reportedly, ASRAAM missiles have the advanced feature of firing beyond the line of sight and are equipped with post-launch targeting mechanisms. The target location is communicated to the missile via radio transmission after it has been fired. 

From an analysis of the launcher’s photo, it has been noted that the device is fitted with an electro-optical detection station located in the rear section of the cabin, most probably on a lifting mast. The detection of airborne targets at increased distances is presumably facilitated by an external radar.

About AIM-132 ASRAAM

Developed and constructed by the British division of the European MBDA, namely MBDA UK, the Advanced Short Range Air-to-Air Missile [ASRAAM], also known as AIM-132 ASRAAM, was adopted by the Royal Air Force in 1998. 

This missile has found its way to the military air forces of other nations as well, including Australia, India, Qatar, and Oman. Interestingly, the United States also showed initial interest and assigned it the American military moniker AIM-132. However, an eventual decision by the US Department of Defense in 1996 saw the nation opting for a modified Sidewinder AIM-9X missile instead of incorporating the AIM-132 ASRAAM into its arsenal. 

With a weight of 88 kg and a warhead tipping the scales at 10 kg, the ASRAAM missile is a substantial piece of military equipment. It measures 2.9 m in length, with a body diameter of 166 mm, and a tail span of 455 mm. The missile’s official air-to-air launch range is stated as “more than 15 miles”, which equates to over 25 km. Unofficial speculation, however, suggests that this distance might extend to as much as 50 km. If these unofficial reports hold true, the missile’s range as an anti-aircraft weapon, when launched from a ground-based launcher, could potentially span 15-20 km.

Australia released a quantity

The decommissioning of the F/A-18A/B Hornet fighters led to the release of a significant volume of ASRAAM missiles to the Australian Air Force. 

Given the RAAF’s current fighter jets, such as the F/A-18F, EA-18G, and F-35A, rely on AIM-9X missiles, there exists a possibility that a portion of Australia’s ASRAAM missiles might have been dispatched or re-routed to Ukraine. It’s pertinent to recall, as noted by BulgarianMilitary.com, the procurement of these missiles from Australia under a contract in 1998, amassing a total of 400 units. 

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