New US military aid for Ukraine includes more Patriot & HAWK air defense systems and missiles

The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) announced on June 9, 2023, a robust security assistance package for Ukraine, signaling the U.S.'s unwavering commitment towards the Eastern European country's security. This $2.1 billion initiative is aimed at enhancing Ukraine's critical air defense and ammunition capabilities. This news U.S. military aid for Ukraine includes more Patriot and HAWK air defense systems and missiles. 
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The HAWK air defense system can engage targets up to distances of approximately 20 to 40 kilometers (12 to 25 miles). (Picture source U.S. DoD)

The allocation comes under the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI), a program highlighting the U.S.'s enduring commitment to ensuring Ukraine's military capability and resilience in the face of potential threats. The USAI departs from the previously utilized Presidential Drawdown authority, instead engaging a mechanism that facilitates procurement from industry or partner sources rather than drawing from existing DoD stocks. The announcement marks the initiation of a contracting process designed to provide Ukraine with prioritized capabilities.

This assistance package, unlike previous ones, includes substantial resources and equipment such as missiles for Patriot air defense systems. The Patriot systems, renowned for their state-of-the-art surface-to-air missile capabilities, are pivotal in strengthening Ukraine's defensive posture. In addition, the package includes the provision of HAWK air defense systems and missiles, which will offer Ukraine a considerable advantage with its medium-range surface-to-air capabilities.

The HAWK, an acronym for Homing All the Way Killer, is a medium-range surface-to-air defense missile (SAM) system that was developed by the United States in the late 1950s as a defense against aircraft. Manufactured by Raytheon and Douglas' McDonnell Douglas (now part of Boeing), it has been updated several times since its introduction and has been sold to many nations worldwide.

The HAWK system is mobile and can be quickly moved and set up to provide air defense coverage in various locations. It consists of a radar system, a control system, launchers, and the missiles themselves. The missiles are designed to home in on their targets, using semi-active radar homing to track and destroy enemy aircraft.

The HAWK air defense system can engage targets up to distances of approximately 20 to 40 kilometers (12 to 25 miles), depending on the specific variant and conditions of the engagement.

Altitude: In terms of altitude, the HAWK system can typically engage targets flying at altitudes up to approximately 14,000 to 20,000 meters (45,000 to 65,000 feet).

These capabilities allow the HAWK system to form an effective part of a layered air defense strategy, covering the medium-range envelope between shorter-range systems and longer-range, high-altitude systems.

Also included in the package are artillery rounds of both 105mm and 203mm calibers. These resources will bolster the effectiveness of Ukraine's ground operations. To enhance aerial surveillance and reconnaissance missions, Puma Unmanned Aerial Systems will be deployed, thereby providing a significant boost to Ukraine's situational awareness.

Moreover, the package comprises laser-guided rocket system munitions, designed for precision strikes to minimize collateral damage and maximize effectiveness during offensives. To ensure the sustainable operation of these newly acquired capabilities, the package also includes assistance in training, maintenance, and sustainment activities.

The United States maintains its commitment to working in close partnership with its allies to fulfill Ukraine's immediate battlefield necessities and its long-term security requirements. The new security package underscores the U.S.'s ongoing dedication to the defense and stability of Ukraine and Eastern Europe.