This article is published in Aerospace Daily & Defense Report, part of Aviation Week Intelligence Network (AWIN), and is complimentary through Jan 11, 2024. For information on becoming an AWIN Member to access more content like this, click here.

Ground-Launched Asraam Achieving 90% Hit Rate In Ukraine

Asraam missiles fitted to a UK Royal Air Force Typhoon fighter jet.

Credit: Geoff Lee/UK Ministry of Defense

LONDON—A rapidly developed surface-to-air missile system based on MBDA’s Advanced Short-Range Air-to-Air Missile (Asraam) has achieved hit rates of 90% against Russian targets in Ukraine, the UK defense ministry has revealed.

The air defense system was developed by a joint team from the UK defense ministry and MBDA and fielded in just four months, defense officials announced in late December.

Details have finally emerged following the August 2023 publication of a single image of the system on the front line in Ukraine. That image showed the Asraam missiles mounted on launch rails fitted to a Supacat high-mobility vehicle and possibly cued by an electro-optical system.

Asraam is the primary short-range air-to-air weapon of the UK Royal Air Force’s Eurofighter Typhoon and Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. But in summer 2022, the joint team proved that the weapon could be ground launched, leading to the system’s quick development.  

The infrared-guided missile is capable of being launched against targets without a direct line of sight, securing lock on after launch.

“Within four months of initiating the surface-launched Asraam project, these air defense systems were developed, manufactured, trialed and Ukrainian crews trained on their usage, on UK soil, before being transferred into Ukrainian hands,” officials say.

The effort demonstrated “the best of British engineering ingenuity,” officials say, noting that the Ukrainian armed forces have not only become adapt at using them, but have also asked for more missiles.

The surface-launched Asraam makes use of older missile stocks that are being retired from the UK inventory in favor of the Block 6 version, which features an improved seeker.

The introduction of the ground-launched Asraam follows the unveiling of a ground-launched version of the MBDA Brimstone air-to-ground missile, which was rapidly developed and fielded to attack gatherings of Russian armored vehicles.

This is the first time the Asraam has been ground launched, although the weapon was developed into the radio frequency-guided Common Anti-Air Modular Missile (CAMM), which soft launches vertically from a canister for land and naval use. CAMM has already secured export success in both domains. <\/p>

Disclosure of the Asraam system emerged as UK Defense Secretary Grant Shapps announced on Dec. 29 that the UK would provide more Asraams to boost Ukrainian ground-based air defenses. This followed a series of attacks using air- and sea-launched cruise missiles, the Khinzal aeroballistic missile and one-way attack uncrewed aircraft systems.

Tony Osborne

Based in London, Tony covers European defense programs. Prior to joining Aviation Week in November 2012, Tony was at Shephard Media Group where he was deputy editor for Rotorhub and Defence Helicopter magazines.


1 Comment
The word is adept, not adapt in this context. Something the spell checker won’t catch.