The surface-to-air missiles are under focus after US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin’s comments in the wake of the Poland missile hit.
In the backdrop of the missile hit in Poland that put world leaders on the edge, every diplomatic statement coming out of Washington, Moscow or Kiev is being keenly watched to ascertain what might have happened.
In this context, the mention of the National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System – known by its acronym NASAM – by the US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin hours after a missile strike killed two people near a Polish village necessitates the need to look into this military gear.
The Poland hit is said to be by a missile from Ukraine’s air defence system.
“US-provided NASAM air defences have 100 percent success rates in intercepting Russian missiles,” Reuters quoted Austin as saying.
Ukraine was handed over the NASAM systems on November 7 after its soldiers received operational training in Norway.
NASAMs were jointly developed by Norway’s Kongsberg and the American defence manufacturer Raytheon Technologies.
Ukrainian officials were excited when two NASAM systems were delivered.
“Look who’s here! NASAMS and Aspide air defence systems arrived in Ukraine!,” Defence Minister Oleksii Reznikov Reznikov tweeted.
“These weapons will significantly strengthen the #UAarmy and will make our skies safer.”
Look who’s here!— Oleksii Reznikov (@oleksiireznikov) November 7, 2022
NASAMS and Aspide air defence systems arrived in Ukraine!
These weapons will significantly strengthen #UAarmy and will make our skies safer.
We will continue to shoot down the enemy targets attacking us.
Thank you to our partners: Norway, Spain and the US. pic.twitter.com/ozP4eXhgOg
Unlike other expensive defence systems, NASAMs can use relatively cheap air-to-air missiles that are deployed on fighter jets. A New York Times report from last week said that NATO allies had plenty of such missiles.
The advanced weapon has been shipped to Ukraine at a time when there are growing concerns that its military is running low on missiles to take on Russian jets and drones.
Russia has stepped up its aerial campaign against Ukrainian targets in the last few weeks.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy recently requested rich nations to help shore up his country’s air defence following a wave of air strikes on Ukrainian energy infrastructure.
NASAMs, which come equipped with radar, infrared sensors and missile canister launchers, is also known as very mobile weapons system that can be easily moved around on a few vehicles.
At least 15 countries have deployed the system so far, according to Kongsberg’s website.
The medium-range missile systems have the ability to detect aerial threats coming from any direction.
The US-supplied Himars (High Mobility Artillery Rocket System) have already helped Ukrainian forces in countering the powerful Russian artillery.