EXCLUSIVE: US Considers HAWK Air Defense Equipment for Ukraine

WASHINGTON, Oct 25 (Reuters) – The United States is considering sending Ukraine old Hawk air defense equipment from storage to help defend against Russian drone and cruise missile attacks, two U.S. officials told Reuters.

The HAWK interceptor missiles will be an upgrade to the Stinger missile systems — a small, short-range air defense system — that the U.S. has already deployed to deter a Russian invasion.

The Biden administration will use a Presidential Drawdown Authority (PDA) to replace the HAWK equipment, which is based on Vietnam-era technology but has been upgraded several times. The PDA allows rapid transfer of defense articles and services from stocks without congressional approval in response to an emergency.

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Reuters was unable to determine how many HAWK systems and missiles the US has for exchange. The White House declined to comment.

The HAWK system is a precursor to the Patriot missile defense system manufactured by Raytheon Technologies. (RTX.N) That is off the table for Ukraine, US officials told Reuters.

US President Joe Biden has promised Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that Washington will provide Ukraine with advanced air systems after a devastating missile attack from Russia earlier this month. read more

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has said that Spain intends to deploy four HAWK launchers. read more

The US will initially send interceptor missiles for the HAWK system to Ukraine because it is not clear whether enough US missiles are in good repair, a US official told Reuters. US systems have been in storage for decades.

US officials say a PDA is being considered for later this week. A US official said it would be about half the size of the latest security aid package, worth about $700 million.

It was not immediately clear whether HAWK interceptor missiles would be included, but US officials have previously warned that the size and composition of military aid packages could change quickly.

The United States has sent about $17.6 billion worth of security aid to Kiev since the February 24 Russian invasion of neighboring Ukraine, which Moscow called a “special military operation.”

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Reporting by Mike Stone in Washington Editing by Sri Navaratnam with additional reporting by Jerry Doyle in Singapore

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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