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 AGM-88 HARM Missile


United States  confirmed  that Washington has supplied some “anti-radiation missiles” to Ukraine, which could be fired from some Ukrainian Air Force aircraft. The statement has put meat on Russian allegations that an American anti-radar missile, AGM-88 HARM, which is part of NATO’s inventory, has been used in the theatre of conflict.


GS III- Science and Technology

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. What is the AGM-88 HARM missile?
  2. Do the Ukrainians have a platform to use these missiles?

What is the AGM-88 HARM missile?

  • The acronym ‘HARM’ in the AGM-88 HARM air-to-surface missile stands for High-Speed Anti-Radiation Missile.
  • It is a tactical weapon fired from fighter aircraft, and has the capability to detect and home into radiation emitted by hostile radar stations that have surface-to-air detection capabilities.
  • The missile was originally developed by the Dallas-headquartered Texas Instruments, but is now produced by the major American defence contractor Raytheon Corporation.
  • The AGM-88 HARM is 14 metres in length, but only 10 inches in diameter.
  • It weighs around 360 kg and carries a fragmentation type warhead that is optimised for radar targets.
  • It also has an anti-radar homing seeker broadband RF antenna and receiver, and a solid state digital processor.
  • The missile has a range of more than 100 km.

Do the Ukrainians have a platform to use these missiles?

  • It would appear that only Western military groups have the required fighter aircraft to use these missiles, and that the AGM-88 HARM cannot be fitted and used on the Russian-origin aircraft that Ukraine has in its fleet.
  • Several NATO aircraft in Europe — including the Tornado ECR, F-16CM Block 50, and F/A-18-EA-18G — can fire the AGM-88 HARM missiles.
Is there no way the missile can be used by Ukraine’s Russian-origin aircraft?
  • Theoretically, it is possible to use the AGM-88 HARM in a limited mode in a Russian-origin aircraft.
  • However, this would have required a lot of fast-moving research and development which may not have been possible in Ukraine itself due to the extended conflict.

-Source: The Indian Express

December 2023