According to Russian military experts, the US MIM-23 HAWK air defense missile complexes supplied to Ukraine have been manufactured since the 1960s and are now really outdated.
Recently, after the massive and continuous aerial drone and cruise missiles strikes on Ukraine by the Russian Armed Forces, NATO nations have decided to supply Ukrainian Army with a variety of air defense systems, including the MIM-23 HAWK, a outdated and old cold war era missile system.
The US MIM-23 HAWK anti-aircraft missile system was developed by the Raytheon Corporation and it entered into service with the United States Armed Forces in the 1960s era.
Since then, the MIM-23 HAWK is upgraded many times, and is modified to intercept new types of missiles.
Hawk was superseded by the MIM-104 Patriot in US Army service by 1994. The last US user was the US Marine Corps, who used theirs until 2002 when they were replaced with the man-portable short-range FIM-92 Stinger.
The missile was also produced outside the US in Western Europe, Japan and Iran. The US never used the Hawk in combat, but it has been employed numerous times by other nations. Approximately 40,000 of the missiles were produced.
The MIM-23 HAWK was used in many wars and conflicts, including the Iran–Iraq War (1980–1988) in which at least 40 Iraqi aircraft were destroyed by Iranian Hawk missiles during the Iran–Iraq War.
On February 12, 1986, nine Iraqi aircraft downed by a Hawk site near al-Faw in southern Iraq during Operation Dawn 8. Among the aircraft are Su-22s and MiG-23s.
Additionally, Iranian Hawk sites shot down three friendly F-14 Tomcats and one F-5 Tiger II. Kuwait also shot down an Iranian F-5.
The largest Hawk version is the I-HAWK or improved HAWK, this upgraded system is able to hit targets at the range of 1 to 35 kilometers, and at the altitude of 6 to 18 kilometers.
In terms of tactical characteristics the I-HAWK system is comparable to the Soviet S-125 and 2K12 Kub. Both of these air defense missile systems have been removed from the service of the Russian Armed Forces long time ago.
Although over the time period of its lifespan of 40 years in major military powers of the world, the MIM-23 HAWK anti-aircraft missile system has shown good performance, however, it was developed using the technology of the 1960s era, no matter how much this system gets upgraded, HAWK is no longer suitable for the wars of the 21st-century.
The last MIM-23 HAWK units were kept into storage in 2002, it is not clear that what is the current situation of these air defense systems, after this long time period of 20 years.
Also it is not clear that western nations has the production lines of the MIM-23 HAWK or not, it may be difficult to restart its production now.
Germany has also faced such problems. Berlin could not produce enough ammunition for the self-propelled anti-aircraft gun systems such as the Gepard, which was delivered to the Ukrainian Army in summer this year.
The German Army removed these guns from their service in 2010, germany is now trying to get help from Switzerland, which produces the shells of the Gepard anti-aircraft guns.