US, Allies Rush Anti-Drone Equipment to Ukraine, Conduct On-Site Weapons Tracking
A defense official also said the United States has no reason to think military aid to Ukraine is going missing.
More U.S. and allied counter-drone gear is being rushed to Ukraine amid Russian attacks on energy infrastructure with Iranian-made drones, a senior defense official said Monday.
The official also said the U.S. military has increased its efforts to track aid delivered to Ukraine.
A senior military official confirmed recent reports that Russia is using kamikaze drones supplied by Tehran to inflict “widespread” damage.
Friday’s announcement of additional aid brings the total of air-defense gear to 1,400 Stinger short-range shoulder-fired missiles and eight National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems, or NASAMS, launchers and their missiles, the defense official said.
“Two of those will be in Ukraine in the very near future with six more to be provided later,” the defense official said.
The United States has also sent Vehicle-Agnostic Modular Palletized ISR Rocket Equipment, or VAMPIREs, to Ukraine.
Allies and partners have also sent air-defense weapons, including the German IRIS-T and a Slovakian S-300 anti-aircraft radar and missile battery in April.
“The U.S. also sources many spare parts to keep Ukraine's Soviet-type air-defense systems up and running,” the defense official said.
Spain has agreed to provide a medium-range surface-to-air HAWK system, the defense official said, adding: “And this is also a system that we are encouraging other countries to provide.”
But as more military aid makes its way to Ukraine, some lawmakers have been complaining that the Pentagon is failing to oversee where the weapons and aid are going. Last week, the State Department released a plan to “counter illicit diversion” of weapons given to Ukraine to other sources.
The defense official said the Defense Department has restarted onsite visits to make sure that aid is being used correctly.
“DOD fully supports this plan and is taking an active role as a key implementer,” the official said.
But while lawmakers may have concerns, the Ukrainians haven’t given the Defense Department any reason for pause, the official said. “I will tell you that in each instance, our team from Kyiv, from the U.S. Embassy, has found the Ukrainians to be very transparent and able to support inspection.”
The official said that “the [Defense] Department has not seen credible evidence of the diversion of U.S.-provided weapons. Instead, we see Ukraine's frontline units effectively employing security assistance every day on the battlefield.”
That’s in line with the experience of U.S. forces on the ground, who reported to Defense One last month that Ukrainians are using military aid as soon it’s given, with little room to spare.