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Air Force officially shows FrankenSAM for the first time: Defense Express reveals all the details

Air Force officially unveils FrankenSAM for the first time. Source: Air Command East

Air Command East showed one of the FrankenSAM projects, a hybrid air defense system that the United States has redesigned for Ukraine, for the first time. It is a Soviet Buk anti-aircraft missile system with American RIM-7 Sea Sparrow missiles.

The first enemy target was shot down by the defenders back in January 2024, but only now is it possible to see what this SAM looks like. More details about this were provided by Defense Express.

The pictures of the vehicle in the East military industrial complex illustrated the story of Major S., who shoots down Russian cruise missiles, airplanes, and helicopters in his area of responsibility. He explained that the most difficult targets to hit are those flying at extremely low altitudes.

Air Force officially shows FrankenSAM for the first time: Defense Express reveals all the details

Although the photo shows the 9A310 self-propelled gun covered by a camouflage net, analysts noted that some details of the integration have now become publicly known. In particular, the fact that its launcher remained original or with minor changes. But instead of four 9M38 missiles, it holds the same number of RIM-7s in transport and launch containers.

In the photo from another angle, the experts saw that the radar equipment of the 9A310 has not undergone significant changes either. For example, the 9C35 radar's radar hood remained in the same place.

Air Force officially shows FrankenSAM for the first time: Defense Express reveals all the details

"It is not known whether there is a Soviet radar underneath, which is responsible for detecting, tracking and illuminating the target. But, most likely, the 9C35 has remained unchanged... It operates in the centimeter range, as does the target illumination radar for the RIM-7 missile: Mk 115, Mk 95 or Mk 23. But this does not mean that the Soviet radar did not have to be modernized or reconfigured to the necessary frequencies and modulations," the publication says.

The experts also drew attention to the marks of downed targets that the defenders had put on the installation. In particular, they destroyed two enemy reconnaissance drones and a Lancet attack UAV.

"That is, this air defense system works quite effectively even against small targets," the analysts added.

Air Force officially shows FrankenSAM for the first time: Defense Express reveals all the details

They also noted that with the RIM-7 missiles, the range of the Buk has decreased. According to some reports, it is 20 km. For example, the range of the three times heavier Soviet 9M38 is up to 30 km, but such missiles are probably produced only in the aggressor country Russia.

Therefore, experts are convinced that the transition to the RIM-7 is an absolutely pragmatic and fairly quick solution because otherwise all the Buk missile systems available in Ukraine without missiles would have to be "sent to a warehouse or converted into tractors."

As a reminder, hybrid air defense systems of the FrankenSAM project have advanced Western-caliber surface-to-air missiles with modernized launchers or Soviet-era radars. FrankenSAM has three combinations: a hybrid of Buk and RIM-7 missiles; Soviet radar and AIM-9; and Buk with Patriot elements (the most powerful). On the night of January 17, our defenders used this system for the first time and shot down a Shahed kamikaze drone from a distance of nine kilometers.

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