Canadian Defense Minister Anita Anand announced Thursday that Canada is donating 43 AIM-9 Sidewinder missiles to Ukraine, from Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) inventory, and noted that this donation will help Ukraine to secure its skies in the face of ongoing Russian attacks.
This is the first time Ukrainian Air Force will get these advanced missiles that is expected to erode the air dominance of Russian fighters aircraft in Ukraine.
Currently, air defense systems such as the PATRIOT and IRIS-T have not been effective in bringing down Russian jets as they go about bombing Ukrainian targets at will.
How effective will the Sidewinder be for the Ukrainians?
The AIM-9X was reportedly used by a Turkish F-16 to down a Russian Su-24 jet over during the Syrian War in November 2015. Ankara claimed it warned the Su-24 ten times before firing the missile. Putin had acknowledged the incident, but did not name any missile.
In June 2017, a U.S. Navy Super Hornet fired a Sidewinder at the Syrian Arab Air Force’s 30-year-old Su-22 Fitter, but the missile reportedly missed its target.
According to CNN, the Super Hornet locked onto the Su-22 at a range of 1.5 miles. The Super Hornet launched an AIM-9X, and the Syrian pilot loosed flares to lure the infrared guided missile away from his fighter. The trick worked, and the American missile missed. The U.S. jet fired an AMRAAM missile, which, using radar guidance, is unaffected by flares. This time the Fitter went down.