A Ukrainian pilots writes a message on a US-made, AGM-88 HARM anti-radiation missile. Photo courtesy RevengeFor via screen grab.
KYIV, Ukraine — The pilot in the video uses a black marker to write in Ukrainian, “You stink of radar” on the body of an American-made AGM-88 High-Speed Anti-Radiation Missile (HARM) that hangs from the underwing pylon of a Ukrainian MiG-29 fighter jet. The Ukrainian fighter pilot finishes by emphatically underlining the handwritten words, then grins beneath the black visor of his helmet as he walks off frame.
Ukraine's air force later fired the air-to-surface missile, adorned with its personalized message, at a Russian military target, according to the Ukrainian military news site Militarnyi.
Thanks to a Ukrainian nonprofit, RevengeFor.com, which raises funds to purchase gear for Ukrainian soldiers, you, too, can now commission a Ukrainian pilot to write a personal message on a combat-ready AGM-88 missile. It just requires a $10,000 donation to Ukraine's military.
According to RevengeFor's website: "Russia is a country that deserves the revenge of the whole world. [...] Help Ukrainian soldiers punish Russia for everything."
An information technology entrepreneur and Kyiv resident named Nazar Gulyk created the RevengeFor website in July. Apart from the AGM-88 option, a minimum $500 donation will purchase a message for a Ukrainian artillery shell.
According to RevengeFor’s website, after someone submits a messsage, a Ukrainian military member writes the words on the side of a shell or missile. RevengeFor sends the donor photo evidence of the order's completion.
The AGM-88 HARM locks on to radar emissions and is useful in destroying an enemy’s air defenses. The AGM-88, which weighs about 800 pounds, flies at speeds up to Mach 2 and as far as 80 miles to strike ground targets with a 200-pound fragmentation warhead.
The US Department of Defense announced in August that Washington had sent AGM-88 missiles to Ukraine. That month, Ukrainian MiG-29 fighters began using the American missiles to strike Russian targets.
Many defense aviation analysts were initially skeptical that Ukraine’s Soviet-era fighters would be able to use the AGM-88s against Russian forces. Yet US and Ukrainian engineers have apparently worked out the compatibility kinks, and the Ukrainian air force subsequently published a video on YouTube showing its MiG-29s using AGM-88 missiles in combat.
The RevengeFor promotional video in which the pilot pens a message on an AGM-88 shows a special adapter pylon under the MiG-29’s wing, which is used to mate the missile’s LAU-118/A launcher to the Soviet-era jet. The Ukrainian air force has recently modified its Soviet-era Su-27 fighters to use AGM-88 missiles, as well.
According to Militarnyi, the Ukrainian defense information site, Ukrainian fighters have used AGM-88s to strike Russian Tor missile systems, S-400 air defense systems, and Pantsir-S1 anti-aircraft missile systems, as well as artillery.
“We had provided [Ukraine] some of these anti-radiation missiles, the HARM missiles, and we had adapted those missiles to be able to fire off MiG-29. So, they of course, were not designed to fly off Russian equipment — they were designed to fly off our aircraft and the Ukrainians in recent weeks have been using the HARM missiles to great effect to take out Russian radar systems,” US Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Colin Kahl said Aug. 24, according to a Pentagon readout.
RevengeFor has raised about $109,000 from donors spanning the globe, including from the US, Canada, Great Britain, Germany, the Netherlands, Poland, Estonia, Israel, and Ireland. With 98 orders to date, Ukrainians have purchased more messages by far than any has other nationality listed on RevengeFor’s website. The US is in second place with 19 orders.
The donated funds go to the charity Come Back Alive, which has raised funds to support the Ukrainian military since Russia first invaded Ukraine in 2014.
According to photos posted to RevengeFor’s website, some of the commissioned artillery-shell messages include:
“Revenge for ‘box cutter.’” (A reference to a horrific video posted online in July of a Russian soldier castrating a Ukrainian prisoner of war.)
“Vladimir Putin, do fuck off.”
“For every Ukrainian tear.”
“Revenge for Mariupol drama theatre.”
In Dutch, one message reads, “Revenge for MH17" — a reference to Malaysia Airlines Flight 17. A Russian surface-to-air missile shot down the Boeing 777 airliner over eastern Ukraine in July 2014, killing all 298 passengers and crew on board.