Lithuania sends NASAMS and 155mm ammunition to Ukraine

Lithuania is ramping up its efforts to support Ukraine by preparing a new package of military aid. The Lithuanian Minister of National Defense, Arvydas Anušauskas, announced this initiative during the NATO Defense Ministers meeting in Brussels, held from October 11 to 12. For the first time, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy was also present at the event.
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National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System launcher (Picture source: Lithuanian MoD )

The new package includes NASAMS anti-aircraft missile launchers and 155mm caliber ammunition for the Ukrainian armed forces. These munitions will be ordered in collaboration with certain EU member states. Anušauskas emphasized that Lithuania is tailoring its aid packages to meet Ukraine's most pressing needs and priorities.

The Norwegian (or National) Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System, commonly known as NASAMS, is a missile defense system that has been in service since 1997. Developed as a collaborative effort between Norway and the United States, this system was designed and manufactured by Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace in conjunction with Raytheon Missiles & Defense.

Unlike many other systems that require a large team to operate, NASAMS is designed to be highly efficient, requiring only a two-person crew. This not only reduces labor costs but also facilitates its deployment in various operational scenarios.

In terms of performance, NASAMS is highly versatile, with different versions offering varying capabilities. The NASAMS 2, equipped with the AMRAAM missile, has an effective firing range of 30 km. On the other hand, the more advanced NASAMS 3, which uses the AMRAAM-ER missile, extends this range to 50 km. The system's radar capabilities are also impressive. The NASAMS 2, fitted with the MPQ-64F1 radar, has a radar track range of 120 km, providing ample time for decision-making and engagement of incoming threats.

The NASAMS 2 can engage targets at altitudes up to 21 km, while the NASAMS 3, with its AMRAAM-ER missile, can reach altitudes as high as 35.7 km. This high-altitude capability makes it a crucial component in defending against a wide range of aerial threats, from low-flying drones to high-altitude bombers.

In addition to military aid, Lithuania is also preparing to provide electrical generators and other essential equipment to help Ukraine prepare for the winter season. Earlier, at the end of June, Lithuanian President Gitanas Nausėda had announced that two NASAMS anti-aircraft missile launching systems, purchased by Lithuania, would arrive in Ukraine in September.

This announcement comes in a context where other countries, such as the United Kingdom and the United States, have also announced military aid packages for Ukraine. The UK recently announced military aid worth over 100 million pounds sterling, while the Biden administration has announced aid valued at 200 million dollars.