Pentagon is reportedly considering the possibility to equip the Armed Forces of Ukraine with additional NASAMS anti-aircraft missile systems within six months. But these systems will not be sourced from the U.S. reserves: instead, the plan is to get them from the Middle East.
American advanced air defense systems currently are in service with Oman and Qatar. But for now, the exact potential provider of NASAMS hasn’t been named yet.
According to CEO of Raytheon Technologies systems manufacturer Greg Geiss, the United States is negotiating with the representatives of these countries regarding the possibility of transferring several NASAMS units to Ukraine.
The current plan is to provide Ukraine with new anti-aircraft missile systems within 3 to 6 months. To compensate for “missing” platforms, Pentagon is offering the possibility to provide replacements to NATO partners in the Middle East within 2 years.
According to Geiss, the NASAMS production cycle is approximately two years. It is quite long because the manufacturer needs to acquire all the necessary components, including electronics and rocket engines.
Which countries can transfer NASAMS air defense systems to Ukraine?
Raytheon does not name the exact countries in the Middle East that are participating in these negotiations. According to the Defense and Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA), NASAMS systems are stationed in Oman and Qatar.
Oman signed a contract with Raytheon in 2014 to supply NASAMS systems in 2016. Qatar received approval from the US to acquire NASAMS in 2019.
Ukraine already has approximately 60 specialists who were trained to use NASAMS in Norway. Official Raytheon training course reportedly has a duration of 6 months, but the Ukrainian team managed to complete it in just 60 days.
Different sources have reported previously that NASAMS missiles have 100% success rate when hitting Russian missiles. The first NASAMS launcher platforms arrived in Ukraine nearly four months ago.