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Ukraine converts US missiles for F-16 aircraft into self-made air defence – FT

Tuesday, 24 October 2023, 12:51
Ukraine converts US missiles for F-16 aircraft into self-made air defence – FT
AIM-9 Sidewinder. Photo: AFP/Getty Images

Ukraine has converted US AIM-9 Sidewinder missiles for Western fighters into surface-to-air missiles.

Source: Financial Times

Quote from FT: "A recent success was to convert redundant US air-to-air AIM-9 Sidewinder missiles into surface-to-air missiles — an area of critical need given Russia continues to launch attacks on towns far from the front line."


Details: A high-ranking Ukrainian official confirmed this information to Financial Times, "Those [AIM-9, which were delivered to Ukraine – ed.] missiles were out of operation.

...We fixed them. We found a way of launching them from the ground. It’s a kind of self-made air defence".

The official believes that these converted projectiles will help "get us [Ukrainians – ed.] through the winter" when Russia is expected to attack Ukraine's energy infrastructure. At the same time, he emphasised that this is not a long-term solution.


The official said this is one of a number of such initiatives, when old materials considered superfluous by the US military are turned into up-to-date weapons.

"We have an agreed solution where we take something obsolete and make it something different," the official said.

For reference: The AIM-9 Sidewinder is an US short-range air-to-air missile developed in the mid-1950s. Most AIM-9 modifications are equipped with an infrared homing guidance.

Over 200,000 missiles have been launched since 1955, making the AIM-9 one of the most used air-to-air missiles in history.

The AIM-9M Sidewinder was included in the summer US aid package.

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