Ukraine received new air defense systems from the US

The U.S. will supply eight systems and an unspecified number of ammunition.
Ameya Paleja
The NASAMS air defense system during a demonstration
The NASAMS air defense system during a demonstration


Advanced air defense systems that are capable of defending the Ukrainian skies against Russian attacks on its power infrastructure have now landed in Ukraine, Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov tweeted on Monday.

Since early October, Russia has stepped up its aerial attacks on Ukrainian cities, consistently targeting power generation facilities. The Russian attacks have comprised largely of Iran-made Shahed-136 drones and have also involved fixed and rotary-wing aircraft.

On its part, Ukraine has defended its skies with the air defense options available with it and brought down as many as 300 drones. However, a fair number of attacks have also hit their targets, risking electrical grids in the country and forcing rolling blackouts to keep the grid from collapsing. Ukraine has, therefore, been calling for greater arms support from its allies which has now duly arrived.

What do we know about the NASAMS air defense system?

Designed by Kongsberg Defence and Aerospace (KDA), a Norway-based supplier of defense and space-related systems, the National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems (NASAMS), is manufactured in the U.S. by Raytheon.

The air defense system, first brought into service in 1998, is used heavily to protect the airspace over the White House and has undergone timely upgrades to increase its range and effectiveness. Its primary weapon is the AIM-120 Advanced Medium Range Air to Air Missile (AMRAAM)while its upgrades now enable it to fire the AIM-9 Sidewinder as well as the AMRAAM ER (extended range) missile.

With the AIM-120, Ukraine can rest assured of a steady supply of rounds to fire and it can engage targets up to the range of 20 miles (32 km) away. The AMRAAM ER missile can be fired at targets up to 31 miles (50 km) away. According to The Drive's report, the U.S. had been training Ukrainian troops on the system usage and dispatched the NASAMS after the training was completed.

The Aspide air defense system

In addition to the NASAMS, Ukraine has also received the Aspide air defense system from Spain. Italian in origin, the Aspide system was first produced in the 1970s and its armament is now supplied by the multinational missile consortium, MBDA.

The Aspide missile is supplied in four variants, dubbed Mk.1, Mk.2, 2000, and Citedef. Spain has promised Ukraine four such systems and although it isn't clear which missile systems have been dispatched, it is likely that 2000, which Spain procured in the past made the cut.

The Aspide 2000 has a semi-active radar homing seeker that can very quickly engage with targets within a range of 15 miles (25 km) as its high thrust single-stage motor can carry it at speeds of Mach 4 post-launch. The Aspide 2000 system also comes with a high lethality fragmentation warhead that causes massive damage to adversarial assets.

With more help on its way, Ukraine is now set to protect its skies and blunt the Russian attacks with much ease in the day to come.

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