US officials said Monday that the Biden administration is preparing to purchase a Norwegian Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System (NASAMS) for Ukraine as part of a new weapons package that will likely be announced this week.
The NASAMS is an advanced air defense system with a range of over 100 miles and is used to protect airspace around the White House and the Capitol Building in Washington. The NASAMS is a joint project between the Norway-based Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace and Raytheon, the US arms maker that previously employed Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin as a board member.
National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan told reporters that the administration plans to finalize a package this week that will give Ukraine “advanced” air defense capabilities and other weapons without specifying the type of system.
“We do intend to finalize a package that includes advanced medium and long-range air defense capabilities for the Ukrainians, along with some other items that are of urgent need, including ammunition for artillery and counterbattery radar systems,” Sullivan said.
The fact that the US is planning to purchase the NASAMS suggests the administration will use funds from the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI), which gives the president the authority to purchase arms for Ukraine. The $40 billion Ukraine aid bill President Biden recently signed into law includes $6 billion for the USAI.