Hawk surface-to-air missile launch - Photo Copyright Raytheon

The Raytheon MIM-23 HAWK is an American medium range surface-to-air missile. The HAWK was initially designed to destroy aircraft and was later adapted to destroy other missiles in flight.


The missile entered service in 1960, and a program of extensive upgrades has kept it from becoming obsolete.


It was superseded by the MIM-104 Patriot in United States Army service by 1994.


It was finally phased out of US service in 2002, the last users, the US Marine Corps replacing it with the man-portable IR-guided visual range FIM-92 Stinger. The missile was also produced outside the US in Western Europe and Japan.

The HAWK system consists of a large number of component elements. These elements were typically fitted on wheeled trailers making the system semi-mobile. During the system's 40-year life span, these components were continually upgraded.

The HAWK missile is transported and launched from the M192 towed triple-missile launcher. A self propelled HAWK launcher, the SP-HAWK, was fielded in 1969, which simply mounted the launcher on a tracked M727 (modified M548), however the project was dropped and all activity terminated in August 1971.

The missile is propelled by a dual thrust motor, with a boost phase and a sustain phase. The original MIM-23A missiles used a parabolic reflector, but the antenna directional focus was insufficient, when engaging low flying targets the missile would dive on them, only to lose them in the ground clutter. The MIM-23B I-HAWK missiles uses a low side lobe, high-gain plane antenna to give the missile enhanced ECCM ability and to increase the Doppler frequency resolution

HAWK Specifications
Type Medium range surface-to-air missile
Manufacturer Raytheon
Weight 1,290lb (584kg)
Warhead 119lb (54kg) blast fragmentation
Length 16ft 8in (5.1m)
Diameter 14.5in (0.37m)
Wingspan 3ft 11in (1.2m)
Performance Speed Mach 2.5, range 15 miles, (25km), guidance semi-active radar

Photo Copyright Raytheon