Keeping Ukraine’s sky safe from Russia: The U.S. made AN/TWQ-1 avenger missile system

The AN/TWQ-1 avenger, which is the U.S. army's primary mobile air defense weapon, is now defending Ukraine's airspace against Russian aircraft.
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As tensions continue to rise between Ukraine and Russia, military experts in the Western world are stressing the importance of reinforcing Ukraine's air defense capability. Western intelligence reports indicate that Russia is amassing aircraft near the Ukrainian border, indicating a potential land offensive supported heavily by fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircraft.

To help Ukraine combat this threat, the United States announced in November 2022 that it would be shipping four AN/TWQ-1 Avenger air defense systems to Ukraine. And just last month, the U.S. included eight additional systems in a military aid package to Ukraine.

The AN/TWQ-1 Avenger, also known as the M1097, is the U.S. Army's primary mobile air defense weapon. It is a surface-to-air missile fire unit that is lightweight, highly mobile, and easily transportable. Each Avenger has two missile pods, each containing eight Stinger missiles, and a .50 caliber (12.7mm) FN M-3P machine gun.

The Avenger's Stinger missiles have proven effective against unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) as well. In a test conducted in April 2017, an Avenger fired Stingers at two UAVs, marking the missile's first interception of a UAV target.

The Avenger's mobility and firepower make it an ideal choice for Ukraine's air defense needs. Its ability to engage targets at close range will be critical in defending against any Russian aircraft or drones that may threaten Ukraine's airspace.

The U.S.'s decision to provide the Avenger air defense systems to Ukraine is part of a broader effort to support Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity in the face of Russian aggression. The U.S. and its allies in NATO have repeatedly condemned Russia's actions in Ukraine and have provided military and economic aid to support Ukraine's defense.

As the situation in Ukraine remains volatile, the importance of a strong air defense capability cannot be overstated. The AN/TWQ-1 Avenger is just one tool in Ukraine's arsenal, but it will play a crucial role in defending against potential Russian aggression.