First images of Ukrainian AGM-88 HARM anti-radar missiles in action

Ukraine shows its MiG-29 with the missile that is destroying Russian air defenses

Although some had considered the Ukrainian Air Force liquidated at the beginning of the Russian invasion, the truth is that it continues to exist and is very active.

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In fact, today the Ukrainian Air Force posted a video on which shows two of its MiG-29 fighters and also a Su-25 attack plane. The video was recorded by one of the MiG-29 pilots, named Ivan, and he dedicated it to his partner Yevhen Lysenko, who was killed in an air combat against the Russians on March 9, in the early days of the Russian invasion:

The video is very interesting because it includes the first images of the AGM-88 HARM on the Ukrainian MiG-29. The HARM (short for High-speed Anti-Radiation Missile) is an American missile that came into use in 1985 and has been updated several times over the years. It is a missile specialized in destroying air defense radars. It has a range of 150 km and can reach a speed of 2,280 km/h. It is guided by radar and electronic systems that allow the missile to detect and hit its targets autonomously. It has a proximity laser detonator and its warhead is made up of 66 kg of a fragmentation explosive.

The HARM was first used in the 1991 Gulf War, proving highly effective against Iraqi air defenses. Until now this missile had always been used on Western aircraft. It is the first time that the HARM has been used in combat from aircraft of Soviet origin, which must have been a technological challenge for Ukraine, since the orientation of these missiles is usually done from the multifunction screens of the planes that launch them, and the MiG-29 has an analog technology. It has been speculated that the Ukraine may have received help from the US for this adaptation, and that possibly the Americans already had experience in it thanks to their experimentation with the 21 MiG-29 they bought from Moldova in 1997.

It's been weeks since talk began about the possible use of these missiles by Ukraine. On August 7, images of the remains of a HARM in a Russian position were released, following an attack by the Ukrainian Air Force against the air defenses of the invading forces. On August 8, the Pentagon confirmed those HARM missile deliveries, and on August 19 noted: "Ukraine has successfully employed these missiles. They have successfully integrated them onto Ukrainian aircraft, and this enables Ukraine to seek and destroy Russian radars, so we'll be providing additional HARM missiles."

Let's review some screenshots of the video here. Above these lines we see two of the Ukrainian MiG-29. They carry the traditional camouflage gray colors of the Ukrainian Air Force.

In this image we seeone of the HARM missiles in the inner underwing mount of the right wing of a MiG-29. On the external mount we see a Vympel R-73 short-range air-to-air missile, guided by infrared. A model of Soviet origin.

The moment of launch of one of the HARM missiles. As pointed out by @ReinaldoDMM on Twitter, the fighter's GPS shows a speed of 779 km/h: "Speed and altitude are very important. The higher the launch altitude and the speed of the aircraft, the more range the missile will have to its limit. On the other hand, it is easier to be detected by anti-aircraft defenses".

The launch of the second HARM missile. On Twitter, @ReinaldoDMM points out: "The AGM-88 HARM are transported in pairs and the procedure consists of launching two consecutive missiles on the same target, this increases the chances of hitting the target and that the complex and expensive mission can be a success".

The video includes images of the same MiG-29 in different missions: in some of them it carries a pair of HARM missiles and two R-73, and in others it is equipped with two R-73 and a Vympel R-27 medium-range air-to-air missiles on right wing (distinguished by right cockpit rearview mirror). It probably has the same configuration on the left wing.

An image of the video in which we see, at the bottom right, the RWR (radar warning receivers) turned on, a sign that the plane is being detected by a Russian radar. @ReinaldoDMM notes that it is possibly the SPO-15 Beryoza radar warning receiver that carry the first versions of the MiG-29 that and would be receiving signals from various directions.

Finally, a curiosity: the MiG-29 has a teddy bear in an aviator uniform in the front left part of the cockpit. That is going into combat well accompanied. 😄

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