Ukraine Calls for More Anti-Drone Gear as Air-Defense Missiles Arrive
NASAMS are now operational in Ukraine, but a new potential threat looms.
Sophisticated new air-defense missiles became operational in Ukraine this week, a Pentagon spokesman said Tuesday, even as reports surfaced that Iran is considering supplying Russian forces with ballistic missiles.
The first shipment of National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems, or NASAMS, “are now in Ukraine and operational” under crews who have been trained in an unspecified European host country, Brig. Gen. Patrick S. Ryder told reporters.
Ryder said the NASAMS will help protect Ukraine’s energy infrastructure, among other things, from “basically any type of advanced aerial threat that Russia may try to employ against Ukrainian targets or civilians.”
But just as new defenses are reaching Ukraine, so new air threats are gathering. Last week, CNN reported that Tehran may send ballistic missiles to Russian forces. Russia has already used Iranian Shahed-136 kamikaze drones to hit Ukrainian energy infrastructure.
On Monday, ABC News reported that Ukraine is seeking C-RAM guns—the acronym is short for Counter-Rocket, Artillery, Mortar—which are essentially automated Gatling guns for air defense of fixed points like power plants.
Asked about the ABC report, Ryder said, “We take into account a lot of different considerations and systems as we explore Ukraine security assistance needs.”
The general said he was familiar with the recent reports that Russia was trying to evacuate civilians from Kherson but said the scale of evacuations had been small.
“Russian forces are establishing defenses, again,” nearby, he said. “It could be that they are looking to defend that territory for the long term, or it could be part of a rearguard action as they look to retrograde out of that area. Regardless, you continue to see the Ukrainians apply pressure on them. And as I've mentioned, our focus is on ensuring they have what they need on the battlefield right now to be successful. So something that will continue to keep an eye on but that's about as much as I'm going to be able to provide right now.”