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    HomeMilitaryUkrainian Aviators Execute High-Stakes "Wild Weasel" Maneuvers in Aerial Warfare

    Ukrainian Aviators Execute High-Stakes “Wild Weasel” Maneuvers in Aerial Warfare

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    Ukrainian pilots are courageously undertaking “wild-weasel” missions, a high-risk strategy first honed by the U.S. Air Force during the Vietnam War, in an effort to neutralize Russian air defenses amidst the ongoing conflict.

    Mikoyan-Gurevitch Mig 23 Flogger” by Aerofossile2012 is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

    This perilous endeavor involves the baiting of enemy radar systems by flying directly into their detection range.

    The pilots then unleash a counterstrike using AGM-88 High-speed Anti-Radiation Missiles (HARMs) supplied by the U.S., targeting the radar waves at their source before the Russian surface-to-air missiles (SAMs) can effectively engage.

    These missions carry immense danger. As Frederik Mertens, a strategic analyst at the Hague Centre for Strategic Studies, conveyed, “These missions can be ‘very dangerous,’ especially for wild weasels.

    But the Russian air defenses are a ‘key target.’ ‘This game is worth the candle,’ Mertens said.”

    The Ukrainian Air Force’s use of HARMs – missiles weighing approximately 770 pounds with an operational range of around 90 miles – has significantly increased their Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses (SEAD) and Destruction of Enemy Air Defenses (DEAD) capabilities.

    Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress Thunderbird and Boeing B-52 Stratofortress 60-054 Mud Buff” by AV8PIX Christopher Ebdon is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

    These missiles have been utilized in prior conflicts such as Libya, Iraq, and former Yugoslavia, and their effectiveness is now being leveraged in Ukraine.

    Integrating Western weaponry with Soviet-era Ukrainian jets, such as the MIG-29 and the Su-27 fighters, has posed challenges, leading to innovative solutions including the use of iPads as makeshift control interfaces.

    William LaPlante, the U.S. under secretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment, highlighted Ukraine’s ingenuity, noting that “Ukraine’s aging fighter planes could now take many Western weapons and get them to work on their aircraft because they were ‘basically controlled by an iPad by the pilot.

    Task Force Guardian 1 Hurricane Sandy Air Operations” by North Carolina National Guard is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

    They’re flying it in conflict like a week after we get it to him.'”

    Sukhoi Su-27UB Flanker 75” by Manx John is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

    While the arrival of the F-16 fighter jets from allies such as the Netherlands and Denmark is anticipated to bolster the Ukrainian Air Force’s capabilities, the immediate situation underscores the tense and dynamic aerial combat environment over Ukraine.

    Sukhoi Su-27 Flankers ’57 red’, ’30 red’, ’59 red’” by HawkeyeUK – Lest We Forget is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

    The adaptability of Russian SAM operators has compelled a shift in Ukrainian tactics, with HARM launches now serving a suppressive function, compelling Russian operators to deactivate their radars, thereby creating a tactical window for other strike systems to engage.

    Sukhoi Su-27SM-3 Flanker ’57 red’” by HawkeyeUK – Lest We Forget is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0
    Rafale – RIAT 2013” by Airwolfhound is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

    Relevant articles:
    Ukraine’s pilots are flying high-risk ‘wild-weasel’ missions first developed in the Vietnam War by the US Air Force … , Yahoo News UK, 05/15/2024
    Ukraine’s pilots are flying high-risk ‘wild-weasel’ missions first developed in the Vietnam War by the US Air Force, defense analyst says, Yahoo Canada, 05/12/2024
    Ukraine Adopts Vietnam War Tactics To Hunt Russian AD Missiles; Know About US Air Force’s ‘Wild Weasel’, EurAsian Times, 05/14/2024
    US commander appeared to suggest UK special forces were operating in Ukraine, Yahoo Singapore News, 05/12/2024
    A Russian drone unit is recruiting members of the Kremlin elite so they can ‘sidestep’ military service on the front, UK intel says, Yahoo News UK, 05/12/2024

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