Last month, Washington pledged to send Ukraine National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems (NASAMS) to help counter Russia’s constant barrage of missile fire that has targeted civilian population centers and damaged critical infrastructure. On Wednesday, the United States Army announced that it had awarded a $1.2 billion contract to Raytheon Missile and Defense (RMD) – maker of the platform – to deliver six additional batteries to Kyiv.
The contract is part of the fifth Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI) package and will also include training and logistical support to Ukraine’s military and security forces. According to the U.S. Army, this effort is a follow-on to the letter contract awarded to Raytheon on Aug. 26 to deliver two NASAMS batteries to the Ukrainian military as part of the third USAI package.
The first two batteries have already been delivered and deployed, and have successfully demonstrated the effectiveness of the systems against the threat from Russian missiles.
“NASAMS are just the latest in the diverse set of air-defense capabilities we are delivering to Ukraine,” said William A. LaPlante, Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment. “These are proven systems that will continue making a difference on the battlefield.”
The Army will work with industry partners to shorten the 24-month lead time associated with the production and delivery of NASAMS illustrating the urgency the U.S. government is now taking in its approach to acquire the air-defense systems for its allies, as well as to replenish its own munition stockpiles.
“Acquisition speed and agility is a top priority,” added Douglas R. Bush, assistant secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology. “The rapid award of this contract is another example of the Army’s ability to accelerate the delivery of critical capabilities through our industry partners to our allies.”
The NASAMS was developed by RMD and Norway’s Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace. It consists of the Sentinel radar, Advanced Medium Range (AIM-120) Air-to-Air Missile, and KDA’s Fire Distribution Center (FDC). NASAMS provides air defenders with a tailorable, state-of-the-art defense system that can maximize their ability to identify, engage and destroy current and evolving enemy aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), and emerging cruise missile threats. It is designed to protect high-value assets and population centers against air-to-surface threats.
The NASAMS is now operated by 13 nations around the world, including Norway, Finland, Spain, The Netherlands, Oman, Lithuania, Indonesia, Australia, Qatar, Hungary, and Ukraine, while one undisclosed nation now utilizes the platform for homeland defense and the protection of critical assets.
Since 2005, it has been used by the U.S. military to defend the National Capital Region from possible air threats, yet the air-defense system is not otherwise employed in operations by the U.S. Army, Defense News reported.
NASAMS’s radar and launcher elements can be deployed over a large area separated by more than 20 kilometers (about 12.5 miles) from the FDC, providing extended area coverage. NASAMS elements can also be dispersed to potentially increase survivability against enemy air and ground attacks.
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 and Clearance Jobs. You can follow him on Twitter: @PeterSuciu.