Members of the US Congress have recommended that the Biden government provide or sell air and missile defense systems to Ukraine. To this end, legislators are trying to amend the draft law on the military budget for 2022. It is believed that Ukraine could be supplied with Israeli-made “Iron Dome” batteries, which are currently at the disposal of the US military
“Some in Congress have included an amendment attached to the 2022 defense bill that would pressure the Biden administration to sell or transfer new air and missile defense systems to Ukraine, including potentially sending an Iron Dome battery currently being operated by the U.S. Army”,– writes “Politico”, the US influential media body.
An amendment has already been passed. It was proposed by Republican Scott Franklin, a member of the House of Representatives, and supported by both parties. (Franklin served in the US Navy for 26 years.) The amendment states that the Pentagon must submit to Congress its options for the transfer of existing air and missile defense systems to Ukraine. Although the document does not name a specific system, a source in Congress says that the main candidates are two “Iron Dome” batteries.
It should be noted that this issue was discussed during the visit of Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky to the United States in early September. During the visit, the United States and Ukraine signed an agreement on military cooperation. President Biden has ordered an additional $ 60 million for Ukraine’s military needs. Most of these funds will be spent on the purchase of the famous “Javelin” anti-tank systems for the Ukrainian army. Lloyd Austin, US Secretary of Defense, has said that Ukraine can count on US support in the fight against Russian aggression. Andrei Taran, Ukrainian Defense Minister, told the US military that there was a serious need for air defense systems. Last week the issue was also discussed during a visit to Ukraine by a Republican delegation from the US Congress led by Lindsey Graham, influential Senator. After meeting with Zelensky, Graham told the news conference that they would raise the issue of providing Ukraine with air and missile defense systems in the Senate.
“Iron Dome” is a mobile air defense system developed by the Israeli company “Rafael Advanced Defense Systems”. It is designed to destroy tactical missiles and artillery shells fired from a distance of 4-70 km. In addition, the system can shoot down military aircraft flying at an altitude of 10 km. One “Iron Dome” battery can defend 150 sq. km area. The United States received two batteries for the system from Israel in 2019. However, it is alleged that these systems could not be integrated into the US missile defense system.
But if Ukraine buys the Iron Dome, where will it be installed?
Ukrainian experts believe that these systems can be used to protect command posts and military units on the front line. However, two Iron Dome batteries are certainly not enough. On the other hand, this system is not designed to protect against ballistic missiles. For this reason, Ukraine has an idea to buy the famous “Patriot” systems from the United States, and this issue is currently under discussion. The “Patriot”s are designed to provide protection from Russian ballistic missiles.
Commander of the Ukrainian Army: “If we had the experience of Azerbaijan…”
The Ukrainian leadership also intends to strengthen its army with unmanned aerial vehicles. For this purpose, it is planned to purchase 4 more complexes of the famous “Bayraktar” strike drones from Turkey. This was stated by Major General Valery Zaluzhny, the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. He said that currently the Ukrainian army has 2 “Bayraktar” complexes – 12 drones. An additional 4 complex means 24 “Bayraktar”s. If the purchase is successful, by the end of 2022, Ukraine will have 36 “Bayraktar” drones at its disposal.
“In the future, we intend to equip our arsenal with local unmanned aerial vehicles,” Zalujniy said. He said that it is not enough just to buy, it is necessary to learn how to deal effectively with these weapons. The Ukrainian general praised Azerbaijan’s experience in this field:
“We are currently studying the methodology of using these devices. If we had the experience of Azerbaijan, our work would be easier. I admit that, unfortunately, we have very little experience in this area.”
It should be added that two “Ada”-type corvettes for the Ukrainian Navy are currently under construction in Turkish shipyards.
Author: Shahin Jafarli
Translator: Gulnara Rahimova