Ukraine adapts its Soviet Buk batteries to American missiles

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Despite an aging Soviet arsenal, Ukraine has continued to fight against the Russian invasion for almost two years. Faced with depletion of stocks, Ukrainian and American officials have opted for the modernization of Buk anti-aircraft batteries, operational since the 1980s. These modernized systems will be capable of launching American interceptors, usually integrated into ships and fighters.

The Eastern Bloc and the Western Bloc, not so irreconcilable after all? On the front lines of Ukraine, Soviet equipment continues to circulate between both camps. Since the start of the war, Ukrainian forces have grown in strength through the delivery of equipment provided by its allies, but they have also integrated Western equipment into Soviet systems, like the numerous missiles integrated into its planes. It is now the Buk-M1 anti-aircraft defense batteries which will be compatible, thanks to the assistance of the United States, allowing the launch of American missiles. Yuriy Ihnat, spokesperson for the Ukrainian Air Force, indicated to Radio NV : “ We have had good results in tests of Buk-M1 tested in the United States, converted and adapted to American missiles and intended to strengthen our anti-aircraft defense “.

A Soviet system still in use

Entering service with the Soviet Army in 1980, the 9K37 Buk anti-aircraft system fires 9M38 interceptors, capable of hitting a target 20 km away, at an altitude of about 3 km. Implemented by 4 operators, the Buk was modernized over the years then navalized, before undergoing modifications allowing in particular to launch missiles other than the 9M38. With an average success rate of 70 to 80%, the Buk is a robust platform still used in several countries of the former Eastern Bloc as well as some Middle Eastern nations. The Buk-M1 then M1-2 have thus proven effective against a wide variety of air vectors, such as drones, fighter planes, helicopters or missiles.

John Walker Avatar