According to Reuters on Tuesday, citing unnamed sources, the United States is thinking of taking older HAWK air defence systems out of storage to transfer to Ukraine, which is under a heavy assault of Russian drone-fired and cruise missiles.
According to the article, it was not clear how many HAWK systems and missiles the US had on hand to transfer to Ukraine. It stated that the White House declined to comment.
HAWK after Stinger
The Stinger missile system, a less powerful and shorter-range air defence system, would be replaced by the HAWK interceptor missiles. Early in the conflict, the US supplied Ukraine with shoulder-fired anti-aircraft Stingers, and after they proved to be quite effective in halting Russian air attacks, the US placed orders with Raytheon Technologies Corp. for more stocks of the missiles.
According to a US official who spoke to Reuters, the US would probably initially deploy interceptor missiles for the HAWK system to Ukraine because it was not certain whether there were enough launchers that had been in storage for decades.
According to the report, Spain plans to deliver four HAWK launchers, as stated by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.
HAWK, an acronym for “Homing All the Way Killer,” joined the US Army in 1959, at the height of the Vietnam War. Over the years that followed, it underwent modifications, including a significant one in 1971 that resulted in the so-called I-HAWK (or improved HAWK), which had an 85% kill probability.
The PATRIOT missile defence system, which Raytheon manufactured in the 1990s, was a forerunner to the HAWK system. From the beginning of the new century, US forces mostly stopped employing HAWK. According to the Reuters story, US officials confirmed that PATRIOT is still not an option for Ukraine.
According to Reuters, the HAWK equipment would be transferred via the Presidential Drawdown Authority (PDA) by the Biden administration. PDA enables the “quick delivery of defence articles and services from Department of Defence inventories to other governments and international organisations to respond to unforeseen events,” according to the US Department of State.
According to PDA, military assistance may “begin coming within days or perhaps hours of permission” and is not subject to Congressional approval. US officials have stated that a PDA is being discussed for later this week.
President Joe Biden promised to President Volodomyr Zelenskyy that the US will give his country cutting-edge air systems in response to the waves of aircraft raids that hit civilian targets and destroyed crucial infrastructure in Ukraine earlier this month.
Zelenskyy was reassured by Biden that the US would continue to back him in his fight against Russia’s “senseless strikes” on civilian targets during their phone call on October 10. According to a White House statement about the phone call, “President Biden committed to continue providing Ukraine with the support needed to protect itself, including cutting-edge air defence equipment.”
Since the beginning of Russia’s incursion on February 24, the US has given Ukraine security aid totaling roughly $17 billion.