Ukrainians Sold Message On HARM Anti-Radiation Missile For 10 Grand

A custom inscription on a U.S.-supplied AGM-88 anti-radiation missile was sold as a fundraising effort for Ukrainian forces.

byEmma Helfrich, Tyler Rogoway|
AGM-88 on MiG-29
RevengeFor via Twitter


The Ukrainian RevengeFor project is selling slogans on U.S.-supplied AGM-88 High-speed Anti-Radiation Missiles, or HARMs, that it says are guaranteed to be launched at a Russian target. HARMs are among the most advanced foreign-supplied weapons that Ukraine has been receiving in recent months, and a video shared by RevengeFor showing one of the messages being written onto the missile also provides the first real look at how the missiles are being loaded onto Ukraine's MiG-29s.

The unique military fundraising initiative led by the RevengeFor project was created by Ukrainian media outlet Militarnyi in partnership with local studio Empat and the famed Come Back Alive foundation. Less than a week ago, Militarnyi shared a tweet with an accompanying video explaining that for the price of just $10,000 an interested altruist could purchase a message of their choice to be inscribed on a HARM that would then be fired at either a Russian Pantsir-S, Tor, or S-400 air defense system. Turns out, the sale has been made.

Yesterday, Militarnyi revealed on Twitter that one unidentified buyer had placed the order, and their message of choice will surely make admirers of the AGM-88 proud. The phrase "you stink of radar" can be seen coming together in the clip shared with the tweet as a Ukrainian pilot scrawls it onto the missile’s body in the country’s native language. The HARM itself is already fitted to the inner underwing pylon on the aircraft in the video, a MiG-29 Fulcrum to be exact, and the post goes on to add that the missile has already flown to its target. 

It is unclear what Russian air defense system it was fired at. However, the fact that RevengeFor was able to rally such significant financial support in this way is impressive in and of itself. On top of that, the videos shared along with the information on Twitter provided an unprecedented up-close look at the HARM and its pylon on the MiG-29.

Variants of the AGM-88 operate primarily by specifically targeting enemy radio frequency emissions, like those coming from an adversary's air defense radar. The missiles home in on those signals to either disable or completely destroy the targeted system. When word that HARMs had been provided to Ukraine first started making the rounds, The War Zone published an in-depth feature breaking down exactly how they operate and the many potential ways that the missile could be utilized. 

Until now, though, there hadn’t been a clear view of the AGM-88’s exact configuration aboard the aircraft. Ukrainian Air Force MiG-29s' dated Soviet Union origins mean they are incompatible, at least without a workaround, with the HARM. Even figuring out how to hang it off the aircraft and launch it safely had to be rapidly developed. Now, it would appear that a special adapter was made to fit the missile's dedicated LAU-118 pylon.

Screenshot from the RevengeFor video showing the AGM-88 fitted to the MiG-29's inner weapons station via a special pylon that the HARM's LAU-118 adapter pylon is attached to. Credit: RevengeFor via Twitter
A view of an AGM-88 HARM high-speed anti-radiation missile mounted beneath the wing of a 37th Tactical Fighter Wing F-4G Phantom II "Wild Weasel" aircraft. Credit: Ssgt. Scott Stewart/Wikimedia Commons

The AGM-88 has proven to be very important for aerial operations in Ukraine since the missiles arrived relatively recently, with the first evidence of their use surfacing just over a month ago. The War Zone has even spoken toJuice”, a Ukrainian Air Force MiG-29 pilot, about the HARM, and he described it as “the most advanced weapon for our aviation and extremely effective.”

With HARMs now in the picture and their apparent compatibility with MiG-29s, Ukrainian forces can operate in the skies with a bit more flexibility and execute missions that may have not been possible before.

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RevengeFor only accepts donations of $500 or $10,000, with the higher end of the spectrum reserved solely for HARM purchases, and claims it has raised over $100,000 through the sale of 180 messages. The organization's website also explains that all funds received through message purchases are immediately transferred to the accounts of the Come Back Alive foundation. Come Back Alive has been using the crowdfunded money to support the Ukrainian Armed Forces with materiel since the earlier days of the conflict

Ukrainians have displayed unprecedented levels of innovation and resourcefulness throughout the country’s conflict with Russia, with crowdfunded efforts being helpful in raising money for their armed forces. Even though Come Back Alive has made it evidently clear that those willing to donate would happily do so without receiving anything in return, RevengeFor giving donors the chance to send Russia their own personal messages via a HARM bearing down on a Russian radar at supersonic speeds does make for some cathartic fundraising.

The U.S. has announced that it will be delivering more HARMs to Ukraine to keep the war effort going, which means more missiles to write messages on.

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