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Anti-aircraft defense: Ukraine defends itself against Russians with Frankenstein

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Anti-aircraft defense: Ukraine defends itself against Russians with Frankenstein

Economy surface-to-air missiles

How Ukraine uses the “Frankenstein” method to destroy Russian drones

As of: 5:23 p.m. | Reading time: 3 minutes

Such a Soviet-era Buk anti-aircraft system is designed to fire modern US missiles

Quelle: picture alliance/dpa/TASS

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In the fight against Russian air attacks, the Ukrainian military is once again showing its creativity: guided missiles from the USA are fired from launch systems and using radar technology from the former Soviet era. Five such Frankenstein defense systems are said to be already in use.

The term “FrankenSAM” first appeared in Pentagon circles in the fall of 2023. A paraphrase for a so-called Frankenstein surface-to-air missile, as a combination of Western and Eastern weapon technology.

With this mix, Ukraine wants to defend itself against Russia’s attacks from the air in the future. In contrast to the novel and film monster Frankenstein, which was created from corpse parts by the scientist Victor Frankenstein, “FrankenSAM” combines operational technology.

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According to media reports and information from Ukrainian representatives 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 over a distance of nine kilometers. A first.

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

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“FrankenSAM” is also a remarkable mix. US guided missiles are fired from launch systems and with radar technology from the former Soviet era, which are in the hands of Ukraine.

Specifically, a US AIM-9M supersonic missile, which was originally developed for air combat as a guided missile to shoot down fighter jets, is now being fired from the ground. In a second variant, according to information from “New York TimesUS guided missiles of the RIM 7 Sea Sparrow type were also launched, which were originally developed to shoot down ships.

The “FrankenSAM” was allegedly tested on US bases

However, any guided missile is only as good as the reconnaissance radar detects the 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 combined with US guided missiles.

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The BUK missile system became known to a wider public almost 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 the “FrankenSAM” was tested at US 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

“FrankenSAM” was developed jointly by the Pentagon with the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of Strategic Industries, according to military experts. The Pentagon also got a detailed insight into Russian technology.

Ukrainian Minister of Strategic Industry Oleksandr Kamyshin noted that the full development of Ukraine’s own air defense would take years.

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

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Defense into space

For the arms industry, it is also another example of how the Ukraine war is becoming a testing ground for new weapons applications and sales markets are being opened up.

The idea of ​​firing a guided missile developed for air combat from the ground is not new anyway. The Iris T guided missile developed by the Diehl Group is fired by the Bundeswehr or, for example, Saudi Arabia by Eurofighter fighter jets and is now used by Ukraine in a different version to defend against Russian drones from the ground. “FrankenSAM” now complements the Iris-T anti-aircraft defense system in Ukraine.

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