In a letter, a bipartisan group of six Senators asks the Secretary of Defence to transfer more medium- and long-range air defense systems as a way to help the Ukrainian military to defend Ukrainian cities and military installations from Russian air and missile attacks.
U.S. Senators Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Robert Portman (R-Ohio), and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) sent a letter to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley, asking them to immediately expedite shipments of military equipment to Ukraine as appropriated by Congress under the Additional Ukraine Supplemental Appropriations Act.
Passed on May 19, the act provided nearly $20 billion for military aid to the Ukrainian military. Equipment recommended for immediate delivery includes medium- and long-range air defense systems, 155 mm howitzers, High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS), armored personnel carriers, larger and more capable unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), and Mi-17 helicopters.
The senators said in a letter that “protecting Ukrainian cities, military infrastructure, and forces in the field from Russian air and missile attack requires ground-based air defense systems, Counter-Rocket, Artillery, Mortar (C-RAM) systems, and Avenger mobile anti-aircraft missile systems. Longer-range air defense systems will allow Ukraine to target Russian aircraft and cruise missiles operating at altitudes that Stingers cannot reach. C-RAM will provide a critical point defense capability against missiles and Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) targeting civilian and military critical infrastructure.”
Also, they added that Avengers will provide Ukrainian forces with mobile, short-range air defense against low-flying aircraft, helicopters, and UAS.
“Our assistance must be decisive, not incremental. We urge you to act expeditiously while coordinating with NATO allies and partners, to get this equipment to the Ukrainian military immediately,” said in the letter.
The Avenger is a surface-to-air missile system often mounted on a High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle, commonly known as the Humvee. The combined weapon system provides mobile protection against missiles, low-flying aircraft and most recently – unmanned aerial vehicles.
The Counter-Rocket, Artillery, and Mortar System, or C-RAM, was developed based on operational needs identified in 2004 during military operations in Iraq. The C-RAM mission has one objective; to protect people and installations from attack from enemy rockets, artillery, and mortar fire by intercepting and destroying those threats mid-flight. Most often recognized by the visually stunning and menacingly sounding Phalanx Weapon System (LPWS) “gun,” the C-RAM system is several sub-systems working together to identify, track, engage, and destroy incoming rockets, artillery, and mortar threats.