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Pentagon readies new $2 billion Ukraine air defense package

Patriot launcher modules mounted on M983 HEMTT, part of the U.S. made MIM-104 Patriot surface-to-air missile (SAM) system, in an open field. (Omar Marques/Getty Images/TNS)

The Pentagon is set to announce as early as Friday a long-term arms package for Ukraine heavy on air defense munitions valued at more than $2 billion, according to administration officials.

The money, to be awarded under the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, will bankroll the purchase of Hawk missile launchers and missiles and two types of advanced Patriot air defense missiles.

One is the Patriot Advanced Capability Missile-3, or Pac-3, manufactured by Lockheed Martin Corp. The other is called the Guidance Enhanced Missile, or GEM-T, made by Raytheon Technologies Corp that it says “provides improved ability to defeat tactical ballistic missiles, cruise missiles or enemy aircraft in complement to the PAC-3 missile.”

The impending announcement will be made as military analysts say that Ukraine’s long-anticipated counteroffensive is getting underway.

The USAI initiative will build on previous efforts to aid Ukrainian air defenses against the Russian invasion. The program pays for contracts with delivery dates months or even years away to bolster the nation’s long-term security needs, not for immediate battlefield use.

The U.S. announced last November that it would supply Hawk systems from its own inventories but they had to be refurbished with USAI funds.

Air defense has been a top priority for Ukraine to counter the recent withering barrages of air-and ground-launched cruise and ballistic missiles against cities, and to provide cover from Russian aircraft in the long anticipated counteroffensive.


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