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Legendary Hanud Hawk Missile Shoots Down Kamikaze Shahed-136 Drone

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    Legendary Hanud Hawk Missile Shoots Down Kamikaze Shahed-136 Drone

    Of the various hanud (air defense) missiles supplied to Ukraine, the oldest is the MIM-23 Hawk medium-range hanud missile, understandably this missile was launched for the first time in 1960. 

    There are at least four MIM-23 Hawk launchers that have been sent from Spain to Ukraine. Because of its old age, there is a question mark, is this legendary Hanud missile from the cold war era able to be operated optimally by Ukraine?

    After the delivery of the MIM-23 Hawk package in October 2022, recently there was news that the Hawk had succeeded in showing its strength, even though it was not a Russian fighter jet that was destroyed, namely the Shahed-136 kamikaze drone. 

    A recent video uploaded by the Commander-in-Chief of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, Mykola Oleschuk, shows the launch of a pair of Hawk missiles in response to an attack on the evening of October 23, 2023.

    According to Ukrainian claims, the night attack involved 13 Shahed-136 kamikaze drones, nine of which were shot down in the Odesa region. In addition, one Kh-59 cruise missile and an unidentified drone were also downed. 

    In this air defense operation, the Hawk hanud system was said to have succeeded in intercepting two Shahed-136 units. Mykola Oleschuk said that the Shahed-136 intercept was carried out with absolute efficiency.

    The MIM-23 Hawk airborne system consists of the AN/MPQ-50 surveillance radar, which has a detection range of up to 100 km, along with the AN/MPQ-62 and AN/MPQ-61 low-altitude target detection radars. The setup also includes a command post, a launcher unit, usually three launchers for each radar illuminator, as well as a missile loading (reloading) unit.

    This missile is clearly not young anymore, but the title of battle proven is firmly attached to this medium-range Hanud missile made by Raytheon. The success of knocking out dozens of fighter jets in various conflicts throughout the Cold War era made opposing fighter pilots think twice about trying out the magic of this missile, which can reach Mach 2.7.

    In the configuration of three missiles on one launcher (firing unit), each missile with semi-active homing guidance weighs 627 kg with a blast-fragmentation warhead weighing 74 kg. The size of this missile cannot be called 'cute', the Hawk is 5.08 meters long, 0.37 meters in diameter and has a wingspan of 1.19 meters.

    Powered by a solid-fuel rocket engine, the Hawk missile is capable of chasing fighter jets up to a distance of 40 km, while if forced, the minimum shooting range is 1,500 meters.

    The MIM-23 Hawk hanud system was first fired in a maiden launch in 1960. Hawk is a surface-to-air missile system developed by Raytheon. 

    Apart from the US and Spain, Hawk missiles have been operated by several US allied countries, such as Germany, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Egypt, Israel, Turkey, Greece, Italy and Iran (when Shah Reza Pahlavi was in power).

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