Anti-Aircraft Defense: How Ukraine Uses “Frankenstein” Method to Destroy Russian Drones

Commercial Surface-to-air missiles

How Ukraine Uses “Frankenstein” Method to Destroy Russian Drones

Such a Soviet-era Buk anti-aircraft system is designed to shoot down modern American missiles Such a Soviet-era Buk anti-aircraft system is designed to shoot down modern American missiles

Such a Soviet-era Buk anti-aircraft system is designed to shoot down modern American missiles

Quelle: Image Alliance/dpa/TASS

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In the fight against Russian airstrikes, the Ukrainian military is once again showing its creativity: guided missiles from the United States are fired from missile systems and use radar technology from the former Soviet era. Five such Frankenstein security systems are said to be already in use.

I amIn the fall of 2023, the term “FrankenSAM” first appeared in Pentagon circles. A fusion of Western and Eastern weapons technology, the Frankenstein is an acronym for the so-called surface-to-air missile.

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With this combination, Ukraine wants to defend itself against future Russian attacks. In contrast to the novel and film monster Frankenstein, created from corpse parts by scientist Victor Frankenstein, “Frankensam” incorporates functional technology.

According to media reports and information from the Ukrainian delegation at the World Economic Forum in Davos, “FrankenSAM” has now been successfully shot down for the first time against a low-cost Iranian-made Shahed drone fired by Russia at a distance of nine kilometers. A first.

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An ATACMS missile is fired from the M270

“FrankenSAM” is considered by experts to be one of the many creative ideas of Ukrainian military strategists to defend against Russian aggression. In a relatively short period of time, the Ukrainians were able to fire Western Storm Shadow cruise missiles from Great Britain from Ukrainian-owned Russian Su-24M fighter jets. It was also a hitherto unimaginable West-East technology fusion.

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“FrankenSAM” is also a notable combination. US guided missiles are launched from missile systems and radar technology from the former Soviet era in Ukraine's hands.

In particular, the American AIM-9M supersonic missile, originally developed for air combat as a guided missile to shoot down fighter jets, is now launched from the ground. “In the second variation according to the information ofThe New York TimesAlso launched were American guided missiles of the RIM 7 Sea Sparrow type, originally designed to target ships.

“FrankenSAM” is said to have been tested on US bases

However, any guided missile is only as good as a reconnaissance radar target. This is where Russian technology comes into play. The radar and launcher of the BUK anti-aircraft missile system, developed in the former Soviet Union, are linked to US guided missiles.

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The BUK missile system became widely known nearly ten years ago when Malaysia Airlines' Boeing wide-body aircraft (flight MH17) was shot down over Russian-occupied territory in Ukraine. 298 people died.

Apparently “FrankenSAM” was tested on American bases in the fall. In December, the United States and Ukraine signed a declaration on joint arms production.

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Production for the Bundeswehr

According to military experts, “FrankenSAM” was developed by the Pentagon jointly with the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of Strategic Industry. The Pentagon also gained extensive insight into Russian technology.

Ukraine's Strategic Industry Minister Oleksandr Kamyshin noted that the full development of Ukraine's own air defense will take several years.

Therefore, combining Soviet components with Western missiles was a quick fix. Apparently five “FrankenSAM” anti-aircraft systems are already in use. A variant with the US Patriot guided missile is also ready.

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An Arrow-3 took off from an Israeli military base on the Mediterranean coast from an unknown location

Defense in space

For the arms industry, this is another example of how the war in Ukraine is becoming a testing ground for new weapons applications and opening sales markets.

The idea of ​​launching a ground-based guided missile developed for aerial warfare is not new anyway. The Iris T guided missile developed by the Diehl group was launched by the Bundeswehr or, for example, by Saudi Arabia with Eurofighter fighter jets, and now Ukraine uses a different version to protect Russian drones from the ground. “FrankenSAM” is now completing the Iris-T anti-aircraft defense system in Ukraine.

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