Installing an American missile on a Soviet MiG: pros and cons

Installing an American missile on a Soviet MiG: pros and cons
Installing an American missile on a Soviet MiG: pros and cons
3 October, 09:50Army
At the end of August, the Ukrainian Air Force for the first time flew a MiG-29 with American anti-radar missiles AGM-88 HARM (High-speed Anti-Radiation Missile) and carried out live firing. The Pentagon recognized the experiment as extremely successful, which was immediately notified to the world community. However...

Alexander Sychev

According to information received in the last days, joy cannot be called complete. It was not possible to cross the MiG-29 with the AGM-88 HARM missile one hundred percent. However, this circumstance does not give the right to relax. The AGM-88 missile, although not new (it was adopted by the US Air Force and Aviation in 1983), is still dangerous. And the Americans will continue to hang them on Ukrainian planes.

Over the years, the AGM-88 has undergone several upgrades. The first version and the current one with the letter "C" differ, for example, in the large, almost twice, number of electromagnetic wave ranges that the missile is able to detect with its passive homing head. Its memory stores the standards of enemy radar signals, which, on the latest modification, can be replenished and rewritten. The received signal is compared with the reference, which allows you to quickly identify the target.

An inertial system is placed in one block with a homing head, which allows you to calculate the coordinates of a detected target and hit it, even if the enemy has turned off the radar.

The high-explosive fragmentation warhead weighing 70 kilograms is equipped with a non-contact laser fuse and in the latest version "C" has twice the radius of destruction compared to what the history of the AGM-88 missile began with.

The warhead is equipped with almost 13 thousand striking elements of a cubic shape made of a tungsten alloy about five millimeters in size. Fragments pierce a sheet of steel 12 mm thick or a six-millimeter armor plate.

The descriptions of AGM-88 mention several ways of using it. If the type of radar and the area of its location are known in advance, then the pilot, using the onboard electronic intelligence station, searches for and detects the target, and after it is captured by the missile's homing head, it launches. To use this method, the Americans had to install the appropriate equipment on board the MiG-29. It is impossible to do this without a thorough alteration of the aircraft.

But the presence of an inertial guidance system on the rocket allows you to use it without being captured by the homing head. This mode is called Pre-Brief by the US military. Apparently, the Americans went down this path. In this mode, it is enough to deliver the missile to the maximum range of its homing head, that is, approximately 48 kilometers, to a previously reconnoitred target, and press the "Start" button.

This undoubtedly simplified the work of American engineers, who spent two months creating an adapter for the MiG-29 launch pylon and trying to combine the electrical circuits and electronics of the fighter and the missile. The result - all the test firing of Ukrainian pilots, which were filmed on video, were carried out blindly. The pilots did not see the radars, and could not help the missiles in any way. There was no precise guidance. They shot into the white light like a pretty penny, hoping that the rocket would figure it out and hit the target on its own.

It is extremely difficult to judge the effectiveness of the created hybrid due to limited information. In addition, even when launched from native American carriers, missiles hit their own more than once. So, in Iraq in 2003, an American F-16 hit its own Patriot anti-aircraft missile system. The missile did not hit him (its design flaw is a strong deviation from the target), but it still broke the radar antenna with one of the striking elements.

In addition, HARMs do not have a full-fledged “friend or foe” recognition system, and therefore the presence in the Iraqi army of American Hawk complexes, purchased many years before the collision, created great difficulties for the participants in Operation Desert Storm.

However, the suspension of missiles on Soviet-made fighters is undoubtedly better than the launch of the AGM-88 from handicraft ground installations hastily made by Ukrainians. Launching from the ground greatly reduced the range of the missiles and made them more visible to Russian air defenses.

On August 26, Russian air defenses detected and shot down a missile, apparently one of the first launched by Ukrainians from an aircraft. They launched it from afar in order to avoid being hit by Russian anti-aircraft missile systems, so the AGM-88 was noticed in a timely manner and shot down very successfully - the missile was not badly damaged.

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