Ukraine will develop new surface-to-air missile system
March 5, 2024
Illustration of the DNIPRO surface-to-air missile system. Photo credit: Army Recognition (www.armyrecognition.com)

Ukraine will develop new surface-to-air missile system

The Government of Ukraine has approved the development of a new medium-range surface-to-air missile (SAM) system, Army Recognition reports.

The SAM, which will have an engagement range of up to 25 km and maximum altitude of 7,000 metres, will be designated the DNIPRO. The DNIPRO will be accompanied by a Ukrainian phased-array surveillance and tracking radar with a range of 150 km.

The system will be capable of engaging up to six aerial targets simultaneously.

Notes & Comments:

As with most of its major defence hardware, Ukraine inherited its air defence inventory from the Soviet Union. The Ukrainian industry is competent in maintaining and overhauling these systems, which include the S-300 line of long-range SAM, but original development is a significant step forward. Kiev is embracing the notion that the defensibility of interests rest on its ability to domestically source defence systems, such as aircraft, armoured vehicles, naval vessels, and SAMs. For Kiev, collaboration is a method, which can be seen in Ukraine’s growth in defence production partnerships with Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Poland, and Pakistan, but in-house production and control over intellectual property are essential goals.

The DNIPRO design seems to occupy a similar space as the Denel Dynamics Umkhonto and Roketsan Hisar-O as a short to medium-range SAM system. Details are scarce, but industry trends might inform Ukraine’s design approach for the missile. For example, terminal active-homing – through an imaging infrared (IIR) seeker or active radar-homing (ARH) seeker – could be a plausible feature. Ukraine would also be well-advised to rework the launch design (initially or at a later stage) for vertical-launch, which would enable it to be deployable from surface warships.