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    Enhancing Ukraine’s Air Defense: US Commits to Supply AMRAAM Missiles

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    In a significant step to bolster Ukraine’s air defense, the United States has pledged to supply 140 AIM-120 Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missiles (AMRAAMs) through the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI).

    The contract, valued at $192 million and granted to Raytheon, aims to equip Ukraine with enhanced air-to-air combat capabilities and strengthen its surface-to-air defenses.

    AIM-120 AMRAAM” by vestman is licensed under CC BY 2.0

    With the Pentagon’s announcement on August 31, the stage is set for a notable boost in Ukraine’s aerial warfare and air defense capabilities. This contract signifies a tangible step in bolstering Ukraine’s military resources in the face of ongoing hostilities, with production slated to be finalized by November 29, 2024.

    The integration of these missiles is a strategic component of a broader defense package, particularly relevant as Ukraine prepares to receive F-16 fighter jets from Denmark, the Netherlands, and Norway.

    The F-16, a versatile and widely used combat platform, will significantly benefit from the AMRAAM’s advanced features, enabling Ukrainian pilots to effectively counter adversary aircraft without entering hostile air defense zones.

    Ukrainian Air Force spokesman Yuriy Inhat underlined this point, stating, “AMRAAM are universal aviation missiles and can be used for both fighters and air defense systems,” and noting their effectiveness against Russian aircraft.

    AMRAAMs are known for their versatility as they are not limited to air-to-air roles. Ukraine, already equipped with NASAMS launchers, utilizes AMRAAMs as surface-to-air interceptors, demonstrating the missile’s adaptability across different combat scenarios. This duality ensures that the supplied missiles not only prepare Ukraine for future aerial engagements but also strengthen their existing ground-based air defenses.

    The provision of AMRAAMs represents a pivotal shift in US policy towards arming Ukraine. Until recently, the US had refrained from supplying F-16s and compatible munitions.

    However, recent developments have seen the Biden administration endorse a European plan to transfer F-16s to Ukraine and assist in pilot training.

    F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft’s, armed with AIM-9 Sidewinder and AIM-120 AMRAAM missiles, from the 35th Fighter Squadron, Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea, return from a simulated battle in the Korea province during the 8th Fighter Wing’s Operational Readiness Inspection (ORI). The 8th Fighter Wing personnel are being evaluated on their wartime capabilities as well as their ability to survive and operate during their ORI.

    The spokesperson for the Pentagon, Brig. Gen. Patrick S. Ryder, chose not to comment on the specific employment plans for the AMRAAMs by Ukraine.

    It is interesting to note that the AMRAAM comes in various versions, with the US Air Force employing the AIM-120B, the AIM-120C optimized for F-22 and F-35 jets, and the AIM-120D, notable for GPS guidance, anti-jam features, and enhanced range and lethality.

    The Ukrainian spokesman’s reference to a range of 160-180 km suggests the provision of the D variant, which aligns with the strategic requirement for robust defense capabilities mentioned by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

    “We need a powerful air force that does not give Russia the possibility to dominate the airspace,” he stated in an interview, emphasizing the critical nature of air supremacy.

    Related image you might interested

    Relevant articles:
    As Ukraine Prepares to Get F-16s, US Provides AMRAAM Missiles, Air & Space Forces Magazine, Sep 2, 2023
    How Many AIM-120 AMRAAM Missile Ukraine is Getting in the $192 Million Tranche, Defense Express, Sep 1, 2023
    US funding to Ukraine buying AMRAAM missiles, Airforce Technology, Sep 4, 2023
    AIM-120 Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile, US, airforce-technology.com

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