US may transfer HAWK air defense systems to Ukraine – media reports

25 October 2022, 04:15 PM
Old, but upgraded system more effective than Stinger MANPADS Ukraine already has (Photo:Lukasz Pacholski/Flickr)

Old, but upgraded system more effective than Stinger MANPADS Ukraine already has (Photo:Lukasz Pacholski/Flickr)

The United States may transfer some of its older HAWK air defense equipment from storage to Ukraine to help it defend against Russian drone and cruise missile attacks, the Reuters news agency reported on Oct. 25, with reference to two U.S. officials.

According to them, the Biden administration would use the Presidential Drawdown Authority (PDA) to transfer the HAWK equipment, which is based on Vietnam-era technology, but has been upgraded several times.

It is noted that the PDA allows the United States to transfer defense articles and services from stocks quickly without congressional approval in response to an emergency.

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One U.S. official told Reuters the United States would likely initially send interceptor missiles for the HAWK system to Ukraine because it was unclear if enough U.S. launchers were in good repair. The U.S. systems have been in storage for decades.

Reuters was unable to determine how many HAWK systems and missiles the United States has available to transfer. The White House declined to comment.

The HAWK interceptor missiles would be an upgrade to the Stinger missile systems – a smaller, shorter range air defense system – that the United States has already sent to blunt Russia’s invasion.

The HAWK system is the predecessor to PATRIOT missile defense system made by Raytheon Technologies, which so far remains off the table for Ukraine.

A PDA is being considered for later this week, U.S. officials have said. One U.S. official said it would likely be about half the size of the recent security assistance packages which have been around $700 million.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg announced on Oct. 13 that Spain would transfer four HAWK systems to Ukraine for air defense.

Prior to that, another Ramstein-format summit (named after the U.S. air base in Ramstein, Germany) was held in Brussels, involving representatives of about 50 countries. According to Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov, the strengthening of air defense was the first issue on the agenda.

Following mass Russian missile strikes at Ukraine, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy asked the G7 leaders to transfer medium and long-range air defense and anti-missile defense systems to Ukraine.

Ukraine has repeatedly asked foreign partners to help protect its skies from Russian missile attacks.

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