Washington sends NASAMS medium-range anti-aircraft systems to Kyiv

The US is sending $820 million worth of new military aid to Ukraine, which is dominated by the NASAMS medium-range anti-aircraft system.

According to the announcement, the United States is sending Ukraine two NASAMS surface-to-air missile systems, four more radars, missiles to replenish its arsenal of HIMARS systems, and 150,000 155mm artillery shells.

This new aid package was announced by US President Joe Biden on Thursday, following a NATO summit in Madrid that centered on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

NASAMS anti-aircraft systems can launch short- and medium-range surface-to-air missiles at maximum range 30 km and a height of 21 km. They are produced by the American Raytheon and the Norwegian Kongsberg Group.

With this new shipment from existing US Army stockpiles, the US has provided $6.9 billion worth of military aid to Ukraine since the war began on Feb. 24.

Interestingly, the Pentagon statement says, in part, that the Department of Defense “recognizes Norway’s cooperation to ensure the historic provision of state-of-the-art air defense systems by the United States to help Ukraine defend against Russia’s vicious air attacks.” Although NASAMS was developed jointly with Norway, this strongly suggests that the systems in question may be from Norwegian stocks. These may include the first generation NASAMS, which are currently retired, or the more advanced NASAMS 2 or 3, both of which are in use.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky responded on Twitter with the following statement: “I applaud the historic decision by the United States to provide Ukraine with a new security assistance package, including advanced air defense systems. Thanks @POTUS for your continued leadership and support of UA in the fight against the aggressor. Together to victory!

The aid package unveiled this afternoon by the US Department of Defense also includes additional High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) ammunition and up to 150,000 rounds of 155mm artillery ammunition, as well as four additional anti-artillery radars. The provision of HIMARS to Ukraine was a significant event. The receipt of this air defense system will put an end to the free flights of Russian fighters and bombers over Kyiv-controlled territory of Ukraine.

Including the latest arms package, the United States has provided about $7.6 billion in security assistance to Ukraine since the Biden administration took office, including about $6.9 billion since the February 24 Russian invasion began.

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