Ukraine: Footage appears to show HIMARS strike in Brylivka
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Ukraine is using US-supplied weaponry to blow Russian radar systems, enabling fighter jets to operate in the skies above their country, a military analyst has said. With NATO refusing to impose a no-fly zone over Ukraine following Vladimir Putin’s invasion on February 24, there were initially fears his forces would be able to take control of the skies.
However, seven months later this has not happened – thanks in part to Ukraine’s use of AGM-88 High-speed Anti-Radiation Missiles (HARMs).
Nick Brown, the Director of Defence Insight at Janes, told Express.co.uk: “HARM’s entire purpose is to find and kill radars.
“It accelerates to well over 2,000 mph, carrying a hefty 68-kg fragmentation warhead designed to shred antennas and control buildings with nearly 13,000 superheated tungsten filaments.”
He added: “Ukraine’s introduction of an anti-radiation capability in-theatre has compelled the Russian forces to change their radar deployment plans and enact more complicated usage patterns, switching radars off and moving them around, degrading their situational awareness at a strategic level and affording Ukrainian air assets a greater freedom of movement.”
Mr Brown stressed: “HARM is not perfect – experience from earlier conflicts shows that radar antennas can be replaced fairly swiftly, for example.
“But for a tactical fighter pilot, being able to take a threatening radar off the air for a few hours is a significant tactical effect.”
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A video released on August 30 by showed a Ukrainian MiG-29 ‘Fulcrum’ firing a HARMs missile for the first time.
The clip, which was released by the Ukraine government as part of a wider package showing ongoing Ukrainian Air Force operations against Russian ground forces, came three weeks after the United States confirmed it had delivered anti-radiation missiles to Kyiv.
The reports came after followed the release of imagery from Russian sources purporting to be parts from either a HARM or AGM-88E Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile (AARGM) which had been fired at its positions.
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The use of the HARMs missile in turn prompted speculation that Ukraine has been in receipt of the types of Western combat aircraft which are known to carry it – for example, the Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcon.
Speculation was reinforced by a Ukrainian Ministry of Defence (MoD) tweet showing an artist’s rendering of F-16s in national livery and markings to coincide with Ukrainian Air Force Day on August 7, with the comment: “Ukrainian Fighting Falcons strike back.”
The US government said the anti-radiation missile (the type of which it did not specify) had been modified to be fired from aircraft in service with the Ukrainian Air Force, a fact confirmed by the video.
US President Joe Biden on Wednesday promised a new £560million ($625-million) security assistance package to Ukraine on Tuesday, prompting a warning from Moscow that such a move risked a direct military clash between Russia and the West.
The US package would include High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) launchers used in Ukraine’s successful counter-offensive which has recently forced Russian troops into retreat.
In a telephone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Vice President Kamala Harris, Biden underscored that Washington would never recognise Russia’s annexation of Ukrainian territory, the White House said in a statement.
Biden “pledged to continue supporting Ukraine as it defends itself from Russian aggression for as long as it takes,” it added.
On the Telegram messaging app, Russian Ambassador Anatoly Antonov urged Washington to stop “provocative actions” that could lead to “serious consequences”.
He said: “We perceive this as an immediate threat to the strategic interests of our country,” he said.
Russia’s declared annexations last week followed what it called referendums in occupied areas of Ukraine, but which Western governments and Kyiv said breached international law and were coercive and non-representative.
The State Department said in a release the package includes four HIMARS launchers and associated rockets, 32 Howitzers with 75,000 rounds of ammunition, 200 Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles, and Claymore anti-personnel mines.
Made by Lockheed Martin Corp, the HIMARS launchers’ accuracy and longer range have allowed Kyiv to reduce Russia’s artillery advantage.
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