NASAMS
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A Norwegian soldier fuels up a vehicle carrying radar to a NASAMS air-defense system during winter exercise Joint Viking 2017 in Finnmark, Norway.
The U.S. Army awarded Raytheon Missiles and Defense a contract worth as much as $1.2 billion to deliver six National Advanced Surface to Air Missile System batteries for Ukraine.

The contract is part of the fifth Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative package and includes training and logistical support to Ukraine's military and security forces, the Army said in a a Nov. 30 statement.

Raytheon, the world's second-largest defense contractor, won a contract in August to deliver to NASAMS batteries to Ukraine as part of the third USAI package. The new contract is a follow-on.

The first two NASAMS batteries, capable of firing AIM-120 Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missiles, have been delivered and deployed and "have successfully demonstrated the effectiveness of the systems against the threat," according to the Army.

Pentagon officials have said the first NASAMS were able to be purchased quickly because the bulk of the systems had already been produced.

The NASAMS was developed by Norwegian defense company Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace and Raytheon. They are used to defend the National Capital Region in the U.S. from possible air threats but are otherwise not used in operations by the U.S. Army.

"These are proven systems that will continue making a difference on the battlefield," William LaPlante, under secretary for defense for acquisition and sustainment, said in the statement.

It takes 24 months lead time to produce and deliver NASAMS, though the Army and industry are looking for ways to shorten that timeline. The Army said:
"This effort further illustrates the urgency the U.S. government is taking in its approach to acquire air-defense systems for our allies and to replenish our own munition stockpiles. The rapid award of this contract is another example of the Army's ability to accelerate the delivery of critical capabilities through our industry partners to our allies."
The work to award Raytheon a contract was led by the Army's Program Executive Office for Missiles and Space, along with others across the Defense Department.

Ukraine has requested an integrated air and missile defense system that the U.S. and other allies are striving to fulfill. The system would be made up of short-range, low-altitude systems; medium-range, medium-altitude systems; and long-range, high-altitude systems that together would neutralize the threat of Russian aircraft and missiles.

Ukrainian forces had been using Russian-made SA-6 and SA-8 air defenses. In addition to NASAMS, the country also asked for Cold War-era Hawk systems - a medium-range, medium-altitude system, that's considered to still be effective.
About the Author:
Jen Judson is an award-winning journalist covering land warfare for Defense News. She has also worked for Politico and Inside Defense.