In the first week of July, the Pentagon announced a plan to provide upwards of $820 million in new military aid to Ukraine. This financial assistance package include ballistics inventory like counter-artillery radar and advanced mid-to long-range air defense systems intended to improve Ukraine’s ability to respond to heavy forces and long-range war strikes from Russia.
The National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System commences a new contracting process of equipment that includes at least four additional counter-artillery radars and as much as 150,000 rounds of ammunition for 155mm artillery. Also known as NASAMS, the contract is worth approximately $770 million and will be delivered through the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative.
Developed in parallel by Kongsberg Defence and Aerospace, in Norway, and Raytheon Technologies, in the US, NASAMS marks a definite shift away from Russian-made defense systems. Indeed, Ukraine had been using Russia’s S-300 until now; and this was made possible by US-coordinated donations of older Russian-made systems from neighbors of Ukraine. Maintaining those aging systems, however, has proven quite difficult, and as the Russian invasion of Ukraine persists, this work will only grow more complicated.
In early July, a senior US defense official celebrated, “it is important to start to help the Ukrainians transition their air defense so for us it’s it’s important to start to help the Ukrainians transition their air defense systems from what is now a [Soviet-type] system, to introduce some of this modern technology.”
The new NASAMS contract are expected to be finalized within the next several week. Hopefully the process will begin soon, as Ukrainian forces will need to start training on systems operations so they can be effectively implemented.
In addition to the NASAM operations, the new aid also includes ammunition taken from US stockpiles that were originally designated for American-supplied High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems which arrived in Ukraine about a week ago. Worth about $50 million, Ukrainian forces have already successfully used this ammunition to respond to Russian command posts and other important targets.
The White House official goes on to say, “What you see is the Ukrainians are actually systematically selecting targets and accurately hitting them, thus providing this precise method of degrading Russian capabilities.”