The US Army has awarded Raytheon a $1.2 billion contract to produce an air defense system for Ukraine as part of US military aid for the country.
The contract is for six National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems (NASAMS), a system the US recently began providing Ukraine. The funds for the contract are coming from the fifth package from the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI), which allows the US to purchase arms for Kyiv.
NASAMS typically take 24 months to produce, but the US Army said it will work to expedite the timeline. Either way, the systems will likely take at least about two years to deliver, demonstrating how the US is planning to support Ukraine against Russia in the long term.
Raytheon, the former employer of Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, has benefited greatly from the US’s Ukraine policy. The company, and other US defense contractors, are getting contracts to make weapons for Ukraine, to replenish US military stockpiles, and for US allies in Europe.
Raytheon CEO Greg Hayes said last week that the US is looking to send NASMS deployed in the Middle East to Ukraine. “There are NASAMS deployed across the Middle East, and some of our NATO allies and we [the US] are actually working with a couple of Middle Eastern countries that currently employ NASAMS and trying to direct those back up to Ukraine,” Hayes said, according to POLITICO.
If NASMS in the Middle East are sent to Ukraine, Hayes said those systems would then be backfilled with new ones, meaning more contracts for Raytheon. Hayes said that sending already deployed NASMS gets the system into Ukraine’s hands much faster than producing new systems. “Just because it takes 24 months to build, it doesn’t mean it’s going to take 24 months to get in country,” he said.