This week, the Ukrainian military received its first delivery of two National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems (NASAMS), which could significantly strengthen its air defenses. The United States Department of Defense (DoD) had indicated in July that it would provide the advanced anti-aircraft platforms to Kyiv.
Why NASAMS Matter
“The Ukrainians announced these systems will contribute to Ukraine’s air defense capabilities and will help protect the Ukrainian people against Russian aerial attacks to include those conducted by unmanned, aerial vehicles or cruise missiles,” Pentagon Press Secretary Air Force Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder told reporters on Tuesday.
“We continue to have an ongoing and robust dialogue with the Ukrainians, with our allies, and with our partners in terms of what Ukraine’s battlefield needs are,” Ryder added.
It was just last month that the Biden Administration announced that it would accelerate the shipment of the sophisticated NASAMS to Ukraine following Russia’s increased missile strikes on urban centers and civilian infrastructure.
“Look who’s here! NASAMS and Aspide air defence systems arrived in Ukraine!,” Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov wrote on the Telegram messaging app, and expressed thanks to Norway, Spain and the United States for the shipments.
“These weapons will significantly strengthen the #UAarmy and will make our skies safer,” Reznikov continued.
The arrival of the weapons came just days after President Volodymyr Zelensky had called upon leaders of the Group of Seven (G7) nations for additional help with air defense last week, following the latest wave of Russian air strikes on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure.
“We must ensure full protection of the Ukrainian sky and will continue to do everything possible and impossible for this,” Zelensky said on Saturday.
NASAMS, which is produced by Raytheon Missile and Defense, is a highly adaptable medium-range air defense platform that consists of the Sentinel radar, Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile, and KONGSBERG’s Fire Distribution Center. It can be used to identify, engage, and destroy fixed and rotary-wing aircraft, cruise missiles, and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). It was designed to protect high-value assets and population centers against air-to surface threats.
Italy Steps Up
The Italian government announced on Wednesday that it was readying a new arms package for Kyiv.
Rome had approved its first weapons delivery in late February, under the unity government of Mario Draghi. Giorgia Meloni’s newly installed right-wing coalition government is now preparing its sixth round of supplies. It would provide Ukraine with a variety of air defense systems, including the medium-range Franco-Italian SAMP/T and Italian Aspide, as well as portable Stinger missiles.
It remains unclear, however, how soon any of those weapons could actually be delivered to Ukraine.
Meloni is noted for being a staunch supporter of Ukraine despite the fact that her coalition allies, including Matteo Salvini and Silvio Berlusconi, each has historically close ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
A Senior Editor for 19FortyFive, Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer. He has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers, and websites with over 3,000 published pieces over a twenty-year career in journalism. He regularly writes about military hardware, firearms history, cybersecurity, and international affairs. Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes. You can follow him on Twitter: @PeterSuciu.
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