The Biden administration on Friday announced a new $820 million weapons package for Ukraine, which includes National/Norwegian Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems (NASAMS) for the first time.
The NASAMS is a joint project between the Norway-based Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace and Raytheon, the US weapons maker that Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin worked for as a board member before taking his post at the Pentagon.
The NASAMS is an air defense system with a range of over 100 miles and is used to protect the air space around the White House and the Capitol Building. US officials made it known earlier in the week that Washington would be sending the NASAMS to Ukraine.
The new weapons package also includes additional ammunition for the High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS), up to 150,000 rounds of 155mm artillery ammunition, and four additional counter-artillery radars. The money for the arms is being pulled from the $40 billion Ukraine aid bill that Biden signed in May.
Of the $820 million, $50 million is for the HIMARS ammunition and uses the presidential drawdown authority, which allows Biden to send Ukraine arms directly from the US military’s stockpiles. The remaining $770 million is for the rest of the weapons and comes from the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI), an authority the president can use to purchase weapons for Kyiv.