The United States said Wednesday that Ukraine would be given long-range missile defense and Switchblade armed drones, enabling Kyiv’s forces to better defend against Russian aircraft and armor from a distance.
The new arms and equipment that President Joe Biden announced for Ukraine includes:
– S-300 long-range missile defense –
Ukraine has had the ability to shoot down Russian aircraft and cruise missiles at relatively close quarters. Washington is arranging for it to acquire systems that can strike attacking aircraft much further away.
According to a military source, the systems are the Soviet/Russian-made S-300, which like the US-made Patriot system, is a fully automated, ground-based radar-and-missile launcher unit that can detect, track and fire at multiple incoming aerial threats at long distances.
Ukrainians already know how to operate the S-300, and the United States and a number of NATO countries possess the systems or components of them to supply Ukraine.
– ‘Kamikaze drones’ –
Washington will send Ukraine 100 Switchblade drones, essentially camera-equipped, remote-controlled flying bombs that can be directed by an operator to find and then, when ready, plunge onto a target, exploding on contact.
Dubbed “kamikaze drones,” Switchblades can extend the range of attack on Russian vehicles and units to beyond the sight of the user. That gives them an advantage over the guided heat-seeking missiles that Ukrainians have used against Russian tanks.
– Anti-aircraft Stingers –
The United States is also giving 800 more Stingers, which are shoulder-mounted infrared anti-aircraft missiles. The US provided Stingers to Afghan fighters in the 1990s to shoot down Russian helicopters; Ukrainians have used them effectively against Russian helicopters and slower, lower-flying fixed-wing attack aircraft.
– ‘Saint Javelin’ –
Western allies have already provided the Ukrainian army with some 17,000 lightweight, shoulder-launched self-guided missiles which have become the weapon of choice in the ground war. These are being used with great effect to destroy armored vehicles at close quarters.
Among those, the US-made Javelin, with dual charges designed to defeat Russian tanks’ anti-missile defenses, has become legendary in its effectiveness. A popular Ukrainian song extols it and there is now even a viral depiction of “Saint Javelin,” an Eastern iconography-style image of a woman cradling the weapon. Biden said Washington will send 2,000 more javelin missiles to Ukraine.
– Guns, ammunition, body armor –
The new US arms provisions also include 7,000 other anti-armor weapons, thousands of machine guns, rifles, and grenade launchers, 20 million rounds of small arms ammunition fitting both Russian and NATO standards, and 25,000 sets of body armor and helmets.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)