Friday, the Pentagon announced $820 million in fresh military supplies to Ukraine, including improved mid to long-range air defense systems and counter-artillery radars, in response to Russia's extensive use of long-range strikes during the conflict.
The announcement for the National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System, or NASAMS, signifies the beginning of a contracting process for $770 million worth of equipment, including four other counter-artillery radars and up to 150,000 rounds of 155mm artillery ammunition, as part of the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative.
NASAMS, designed by Kongsberg Defence and Aerospace of Norway and Raytheon Technologies of the United States, represents a departure from the Russian-made air defense systems, such as the S-300, that Ukraine had previously employed. The United States facilitated donations of Russian-made systems from Ukraine's neighbors, but it is anticipated that maintaining these systems will become more challenging as Russia's incursion progresses.
"This system, co-produced by Norway and the United States, is a NATO system, so it's important for us to help the Ukrainians transition from their current Soviet-style air defense system to this modern technology," a senior defense official said Friday.
According to a senior defense official, NASAMS contracts are expected to be finalized within weeks or months, and Ukrainian forces would require training to operate the systems.
NASAMS used to protect the airspace above the White House and the Pentagon, has been exported to Hungary and India, among other countries, in recent years.
The fresh assistance reportedly includes $50 million worth of ammunition taken from U.S. stockpiles for High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems supplied by the United States and delivered to Ukraine last week. According to the official, Ukrainian forces have utilized the devices effectively against Russian command positions and other targets.
"As you can see, the Ukrainians are actually selecting targets systematically and hitting them accurately, thereby providing a precise method of degrading Russian capabilities," the official explained.
The official attributed the recent withdrawal of Russian forces from Snake Island, contrary to what Moscow said, to Ukrainian troops armed with American Harpoon missiles. The U.S. official verified that Ukraine had employed Harpoon missiles to sink a Russian supply ship en route to Snake Island in the Black Sea.
Since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, the U.S. has provided Ukraine with more than $8.8 billion in weaponry and other military training, including $6.9 billion since the invasion.