Friday, January 27, 2023

Ukraine to integrate Sea Sparrow missile into Soviet-era Buk launchers

The U.S. officials announced on Friday an additional $3.075 billion in aid to Ukraine, which includes an undisclosed number of radar-guided RIM-7 Sea Sparrow surface-to-air missiles.

The package for the first time includes Sea Sparrow missiles, which can be integrated into Soviet-era Buk surface-to-air missile system by the Ukrainian military.

The new Western-made missiles will allow optimization of the Buk missile system level, performance and reliability improvement. This step will increase the ammunition capacity of Ukrainian air defense systems, whose missiles are running out due to constant missile attacks from Russia and the use of Iranian-made Shahed kamikaze drones.

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The RIM-7 Sea Sparrow will be paired with Soviet-era Buk surface-to-air missile system to knock down everything in the sky from drones to military helicopters to fighter jets.

The Sea Sparrow system was developed in the early 1960s from the AIM-7 Sparrow air-to-air missile as a lightweight “point-defense” weapon that could be retrofitted to existing ships as quickly as possible, often in place of existing gun-based anti-aircraft weapons. In this incarnation, it was a very simple system guided by a manually aimed radar illuminator.

Fifty years after its development, the Sea Sparrow remains an important part of a layered air defense system, providing a short/medium-range component especially useful against sea-skimming missiles.

In total, the United States has committed more than $24.9 billion in security assistance to Ukraine since the beginning of the Biden Administration. Since 2014, the United States has committed more than $27 billion in security assistance to Ukraine and more than $24.2 billion since the beginning of Russia’s unprovoked and brutal invasion on February 24.

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About this Author

Dylan Malyasov
Defense journalist and commentator. Aviation photographer. Dylan leads Defence Blog's coverage of global military news, focusing on engineering and technology across the U.S. defense industry.

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