Anti-Radar Missiles Add Countermeasures Against Russian Air Defence
According to a Pentagon announcement made on Monday, the U.S. has reportedly delivered anti-radar missiles to Ukraine that are intended to track and destroy radar systems. This could significantly increase countermeasures against Russian air defences that Ukrainian aircraft could use to target Russian radar systems. The Defence Department has now officially admitted giving Ukraine the previously unknown missile. Due to the fact that the Ukrainian air force still possesses aircraft with Soviet-era design, analysts have not yet been able to ascertain how Ukraine has deployed the weapon.
High-Speed Anti-Radiation Missile is the full name of the AGM-88 HARM air-to-surface missile. It is a tactical weapon launched from fighter aircraft with the ability to identify and target radiation emitted by adversarial radar installations with surface-to-air detection capabilities. The missile was created by Texas Instruments, a company with its headquarters in Dallas, but it is presently produced by Raytheon Corporation, a significant American defence contractor. An updated version of the weapon is made by Northrop Grumman, which has its headquarters in Dulles, Virginia. The AGM-88 HARM is barely 10 inches long and has a diameter of 14 metres long. It weighs roughly 360 kg and has a warhead designed for radar targets that is of the fragmentation variety. Additionally, it contains a solid-state digital CPU and a broadband RF anti-radar homing seeker antenna and receiver. The missile has a range of more than 100 kilometres.
The NLAW anti-tank missiles from the UK and Switchblade explosive drones from the US are only two examples of weaponry that were given to the Ukrainians that are so new they have never been deployed in battle. In contrast, the Harm (high-speed anti-radiation missile) entered service in 1985. The weapon is intended to "suppress or destroy surface-to-air missile radar and radar-directed air defence artillery systems," according to its designers Raytheon. In order to accomplish this, it recognises enemy radar signals and transforms from hunter to hunted by riding their radar beams to the target at around 2,300 km/h. The AGM-88, one of the fastest air-to-surface missiles in use, can travel 40 kilometres per minute, leaving enemy air defences with little time to respond at distances up to 110 kilometres. It is important to keep in mind that speed is not always a decisive factor in battle. To defeat adversary air defences at far greater ranges, the US has extensively invested in slower, stealthier missiles. Such missiles, like the JASSM, were not intended to be employed with aircraft from the Soviet era. In addition, Russia has deployed the Kh-31P, a missile with a comparable range as the AGM-88 that is "designed to destroy air operations control radars, early warning radars, and medium- and long-range surface-to-air system radars," according to Rosoboronexport, the Kh-31P's maker. The AGM-88 was first employed in 1986 during US airstrikes against Muammar Qaddafi's forces in Libya. It was designed to counter Soviet-supplied defence systems and destroyed twelve missile batteries.
Russia may be able to anticipate taking more losses in this cat-and-mouse game tactically than the Ukrainians. Russia has dispatched more Buk air defence systems as the battle progresses into an attrition war in which both sides aim to wear down their adversaries. This would significantly increase the number of surface-to-air system options. As many as 800 S-300 launchers and the more recent S-400, of which Moscow claimed to have more than 200, were present in Russia at the start of the conflict, together with an estimated 350 Buk missile launchers, each of which was very effective against Ukrainian jets. The last two systems have generated a great deal of discussion among western military analysts about whether Russia may develop a "Anti-Access Area Denial" (A2AD) strategy to keep NATO forces from entering its airspace. An A2AD strategy encroaching on Ukrainian territory would provide a significant challenge for Ukraine, which has a much smaller air force than anything NATO can deploy, assuming Russia can find enough qualified system crews. Most of this weaponry will probably not be used by Russia during the fight; instead, it will likely reserve certain anti-aircraft missile batteries to protect Kaliningrad, its region on the Baltic coast where several S-400s are stationed. Given this, Ukraine likely needs to fight a protracted battle before it can weaken Russian air defences. The invasion force has lost 13 radar systems and nearly 70 surface-to-air missile systems, according to analysts Stijn Mitzer and Jakub Janovsky who have tracked Russia's military losses since the debate on the Oryx blog began. This represents a small portion of the invasion force's initial inventory.