The United States is considering bringing some HAWK air defense equipment out of storage and sending it to Ukraine to help the country in the fight against Russia, according to a Reuters report.  

The news agency cited two US officials as saying that the Biden administration would use the Presidential Drawdown Authority to transfer the HAWK systems. It is not known how many such systems are available, although one official told Reuters that only interceptor missiles would be sent at first because it is not clear if the launchers are in good enough condition.  

The PDA could take place later this week, the article claimed, which was published on October 25, 2022.  

Oleksii Reznikov, Ukraine’s minister of Defense, confirmed he had spoken to US counterpart Lloyd Austin III and discussed the next US Security Assistance package. “Details to follow,” he posted on Twitter. Reznikov also said he appreciated the United States’ clear position of “not reacting to provocations and zero tolerance of blackmail” after Russia claimed Ukraine was preparing to use a “dirty bomb”. 

What is the HAWK System? 

The HAWK system, made by Raytheon, is a medium-range surface to air missile and initially entered service with the US army in 1959. It has been superseded by the Patriot missile defense system.  

Regardless of whether the US launchers are still operable or not, Ukraine should be able to put HAWK missiles to good use. On October 14, 2022, Spain announced it would be sending four HAWK air defense systems to Ukraine, with more on the way. 

The US is not planning to send Patriot defense systems to Ukraine, according to the Reuters report. The country has already sent shorter-range Stinger handheld missile systems (MANPADs) from its supplies to Ukraine following Russia’s invasion.  

European nations have stepped up plans to help Ukraine with more air defense systems after Russia bombarded critical infrastructure with missiles and drones in early October. 

In addition to the HAWKs, Spain trained Ukrainian service members to operate the Italian-made Spada Aspide air defense system.  

Germany has already delivered the first of four IRIS-T SL air defense systems and France has pledged to deliver radars and missile systems to deter more air strikes. 

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Several European nations delivered or promised air defense systems to Ukraine, while Russia continues to bomb critical infrastructure with missiles and drones.