The Soviet Buk-M1 air defense system, which is in service with the Ukrainian Air Defense Forces, has been converted to use American RIM-7 Sea Sparrow anti-aircraft missiles. This is reported by Military with reference to the spokesman for the Air Force Command of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Colonel Yuriy Ihnat.

“There is an announcement from our Western partners (we have already confirmed it) that we have good results of combat use of Buk-M1 anti-aircraft missile systems at a training ground in the United States, which are re-equipped and adapted to American missiles, which can strengthen our air defense,” Ihnat said in an interview with Radio NV.

Ukraine has a number of medium-range air defense systems, Buk-M1, modified versions of the Soviet 9K37 Buk, but the number of missiles for them is limited. The fact is that only Russia produces anti-aircraft missiles for the Buk-M1 and S-300, so Ukraine has to look for ways to “cross the Soviet with the American.” The Western media have dubbed such hybrid air defense systems FrankenSAM, after Frankenstein (the name of the scientist who created the monster in Mary Shelley’s famous novel) and SAM (surface-to-air missile).

FrankenSAM: Buk-M1 air defense systems plus RIM-7 Sea Sparrow anti-aircraft missiles

The Buk-M1 is a modification of the Soviet medium-range air defense system 9K37 Buk (1979), which has been in production since 1997. Since 2018, Ukroboronprom has been producing components of this system without Russia’s participation. But not missiles.

The RIM-7 Sea Sparrow is a short-range naval surface-to-air missile system developed on the basis of the AIM-7 Sparrow aircraft missile in 1976. In addition to sea-based systems, there are also ground-based systems using RIM-7 Sea Sparrow missiles.

Interestingly, back in early 2023, Ukraine received an unspecified number of RIM-7 Sea Sparrow anti-aircraft missiles, but it was hardly noticed at the time.

FrankenSAM: Buk-M1 air defense systems plus RIM-7 Sea Sparrow anti-aircraft missiles

RIM-7 Sea Sparrow specifications
Weight – 230 kg
Length – 3.7 m
Diameter – 20 cm
Wingspan – 1.02 m
Warhead – ring-shaped fragmentation
Weight of the warhead – 41 kg
Engine – Hercules MK-58 solid fuel rocket engine
Operational range – 19 km
Maximum speed – 4,256 km/h
Control – semi-active radar homing head
Unit cost – $165,400