RIM-7 missiles on a transport trolley
On January 6, the US Department of Defense announced the allocation of another package of military-technical assistance to Ukraine. It includes various models of armored vehicles, artillery systems, infantry weapons, etc. In addition, for the first time, it was decided to provide RIM-7 Sea Sparrow anti-aircraft guided missiles. It is reported that such ammunition is planned to be used on modified Soviet-style anti-aircraft missile systems.
In a new package
Various information about the next package of American aid began to appear at the end of December. Officials mentioned the imminent release of new aid, and also pointed to certain samples for delivery. Some details of future deliveries through unnamed persons got into the press. Some of this information was of some interest.
In early January, the American media reported on the Pentagon's readiness to transfer RIM-7 Sea Sparrow anti-aircraft missiles to the Kyiv regime. Such weapons are considered as another means designed to strengthen the air defense of Ukrainian formations.
On January 5, the Politico edition revealed curious technical details of the future delivery. It recalled that the RIM-7 SAM is intended for ship and land air defense systems, but Ukraine does not have such systems. Two unnamed sources familiar with the situation told the publication that the RIM-7 missiles are planned to be used in conjunction with the Buk air defense system that Ukraine has. A number of such complexes will be finalized for the installation and use of foreign-style missiles.
Soon, on January 6, the Pentagon officially announced a new aid package. Its full composition was disclosed, as well as the volumes of some deliveries. In particular, they confirmed their intention to send Sea Sparrow missiles to Ukraine. At the same time, the number of such products in open publications is not reported. The exact timing of the start of deliveries also remains unknown.
Loading the launcher
Official statements do not mention how exactly the Kyiv regime will use foreign-style missiles. Press information about the adaptation of old-type cash air defense systems has not yet been confirmed, but has not been refuted either. Accordingly, the timing of the implementation of such a refinement is also unknown.
It cannot be ruled out that work on the integration of the American missile defense system and Ukrainian air defense systems has already been completed. They may have been performed in the recent past without prior announcement. In addition, the Pentagon and Kyiv, in theory, could use one of the existing projects previously proposed by foreign industry. In this case, air defense systems with new missiles can be on duty within the next few weeks.
At sea and on land
The RIM-7 Sea Sparrow short-range anti-aircraft missile has been developed by the American company Raytheon since the late sixties. The goal of the project was to adapt aviation missiles AIM-7 for use on offshore platforms and the creation on its basis of a full-fledged shipborne air defense system. The project was completed successfully, and in the mid-seventies, the air defense system with the Sea Sparrow missile (“Sea Sparrow” - by analogy with the AIM-7 Sparrow) began to enter service with the fleets of the United States and other countries.
In the future, the development companies have repeatedly upgraded the missile and the anti-aircraft complex as a whole. Tactical and technical characteristics, reliability, etc. gradually increased. In addition, the range of combat missions to be solved was expanding. Thus, missiles were constantly being refined to take into account new threats, mainly in the form of anti-ship missiles appearing abroad.
In the mid-nineties, the development of RIM-7 led to the appearance of the RIM-162 ESSM SAM and SAM. Such an air defense system was installed on new American and foreign ships and became a replacement for the RIM-7. At the same time, the old complexes were not abandoned. They still remain in operation, but are gradually giving way to new ESSMs.
Sea Sparrow missile launch
Also in the nineties, the land-based version of the Sea Sparrow air defense system entered service with individual countries. In this case, the launcher and other means were mounted on a trailer. Such a complex was intended for long-term duty in position.
At the beginning of the 7s, Raytheon offered potential customers from Eastern Europe an original project for the modernization of the Soviet Kub air defense system. It provided for the replacement of part of the equipment and the introduction of the RIM-XNUMX rocket. Despite the promised benefits, no one was interested in such a project.
of the latter, News it follows that Raytheon or another organization has developed a similar project based on the Buk complex. Probably, the design has already been completed, and now the Ukrainian air defense systems are being rebuilt. Accordingly, the supply of ready-made complexes to the combat zone may be a matter of the near future.
Features and specifications
The RIM-7 Sea Sparrow missile is based on the AIM-7 air-to-air product and generally retains its main features. It is built in a cylindrical body 3,7 m long and 203 mm in diameter with two sets of planes. Starting weight - approx. 230 kg, depending on modification. The layout is traditional. The head compartment accommodates the guidance means, behind them is the warhead, and the tail is given over to the solid-propellant engine.
All variants of the RIM-7 were equipped with a semi-active radar seeker, which required target illumination. A high-explosive fragmentation warhead weighing 40,5 kg with semi-finished rod-type projectiles is used. The warhead is controlled by a fuse with a non-contact target sensor.
Sea Sparrow air defense control post type Mk 115
Due to the solid-fuel engine, acceleration to a speed of about 3,5 M is provided. The maximum firing range is 20 km. Targets are hit at altitudes of no more than 15 km. It should be noted that in terms of flight characteristics, the RIM-7 ship-based missiles of all versions are inferior to the aviation AIM-7. This is due to the need for self-acceleration and the lack of a starting engine.
The RIM-7 missile was regularly used with the Mk 29 launcher. Such an installation carries eight missiles and has guidance mechanisms in two planes. Also, the carrier ship received various missile system control systems. Both manually operated devices and fully automatic systems were developed and implemented.
According to the project from Raytheon, the RIM-7 missile could be used on the Kub air defense system. This required the completion of the launcher and the installation of new control devices. In addition, it was proposed to radically rebuild the radio equipment of the complex - for full compatibility with the rocket.
With limited potential
The inclusion of RIM-7 Sea Sparrow missiles in the next aid package indicates that the United States intends to continue to help the Kyiv regime build its air defense. However, such assistance has a specific form. Once again, the Ukrainian "allies" are planning to ship obsolete products that are being removed from service with their own fleet. This is hardly weapon will be useful, but in the current situation, Kyiv will be satisfied with this help.
It should be noted that the shortcomings associated with the age and quality of missiles can be compensated for by their quantity. The US Navy is phasing out the RIM-7 in favor of newer models, and they are freeing up significant stocks of such weapons. This gives at least a theoretical opportunity to arrange mass deliveries of missiles.
Land launcher for RIM-7
Of great interest is information about the use of American missiles on the modified Buk complexes. Such a "hybrid" air defense system will have a number of interesting features of various kinds. So, with its help, the United States and Ukraine will be able to transfer ship-based missiles to land while maintaining the main characteristics and capabilities. In addition, the platform used will provide high mobility inherent in military air defense systems.
However, the combat capabilities of such an air defense system will still be limited. Its combat characteristics are determined mainly by the parameters of the rocket, which is not distinguished by novelty and perfection. This means that the Sea Sparrow Buk will not be able to respond to all existing threats. In addition, they will become a priority target for strikes and will probably not even be able to defend themselves.
The United States is again ready to transfer weapons to Ukraine and is making up the largest and most expensive aid package in recent times. But the bulk of the deliveries should again be not the newest and most advanced samples. In particular, it is planned to ship anti-aircraft missiles that are being decommissioned, moreover, as part of a hastily created complex at the old base.
The creation and upcoming deliveries of such air defense systems can be seen as an attempt to restore Ukrainian air defense. However, such complexes will have limited characteristics and are unlikely to become massive, and they will also have to become targets for strikes. All this suggests that RIM-7 missiles, like other foreign weapons, will not influence the course of events and will not help the current Kyiv regime.