The US Army has awarded a $1.2-billion contract to Raytheon Missiles and Defense to produce six National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems (NASAMS) for Ukraine.

The contract is part of Washington’s fifth Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative package to support Kyiv’s counter-offensives against Russian forces.

According to the US Army, it will coordinate with industry partners to expedite or shorten the usual 24-month production timeline.

Ukraine urgently needs more air defense systems amid increasing Russian attacks on its infrastructure.

“Acquisition speed and agility is a top priority,” US Army acquisition official Douglas R. Bush said. “The rapid award of this contract is another example of the Army’s ability to accelerate the delivery of critical capabilities through our industry partners to our allies.”

Besides NASAMS, Raytheon will provide training and logistical support to the Ukrainian military and security forces.

Earlier this year, the US contracted the American defense firm to supply Kyiv with two NASAMS to counter Russian aggression. The system was immediately deployed and reportedly demonstrated its effectiveness in neutralizing threats.

The NASAMS

Raytheon’s NASAMS is a highly-adaptable medium-range air defense system capable of defending a large geographical area.

It can identify, engage, and destroy aircraft, drones, and cruise missiles and protect high-value assets from air-to-surface threats.

The weapon system consists of the Sentinel A3 radar and a suite of effectors such as the Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile.

“NASAMS are just the latest in the diverse set of air-defense capabilities we are delivering to Ukraine,” defense acquisition undersecretary William A. LaPlante said. “These are proven systems that will continue making a difference on the battlefield.”

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The National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems (NASAMS) can destroy enemy aerial assets such as aircraft, drones, and missiles. Photo: US Army