As winter draws closer, the Ukrainian military is shifting gears and making sure they can support their troops with the right kind of equipment and weaponry. With this, President Volodomyr Zelensky has updated their weapons wish list.

For months, Ukraine continually asked for long-range weapons like HIMARS, and after these missile systems improved their offense (compared to their makeshift missile trucks), they have made a dent in pushing Russians into the borders. But, the weight of the missile attacks on their civilian regions (at least 10 cities, including Kyiv) had placed a heightened sense of urgency.

Ruslan Stefanchuk, Ukraine’s top parliament member, sent letters to their leadership to call on the United States and NATO to deliver National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems (NASAMS). NASAMS was first developed in the 1990s by the Norwegian company Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace (KDA). This defense system integrated with the battle management command and control system based on KS500F computers and KMC900 consoles. Then, it was upgraded from the first generation of NASAMS to the second, and the latest iteration is NASAMS 3.

NASAMS Launcher
Placing helicopters and NASAMs in the context of the NSS at the former Valkenburg Airport (Source: Department of Defense/Wikimedia)

NASAMS 3 upgrades were completed on May 29019, and these come with an updated Fire Distribution Center Station and ergonomic control surfaces. It also has redesigned Mk2 canister launcher that can fire short-range missiles and ARMAAM-ER missiles.

“Ukrainian Armed Forces had successfully [shot] down almost half of the missiles and Iranian drones, but unfortunately our air defense resources are limited,” Stefanchuk wrote in the letter seen by Foreign Policy. “By this attack, Russia received no military advance; it was an act of terror, targeted exclusively against the civilian population. NASAMS Ground Air Defense Systems are crucial to secure critical civil and military infrastructure from Russian cruise missiles and bombings, while Land-Based Phalanx Weapon System (C-RAM) would allow for the closest point protection of the most important objects, especially crucial power plants.”

Though NASAMS seem to be a good, sustainable solution for the Ukrainians, the big question is: will they arrive soon enough to counter Russian missiles in their cities?

“We’re not talking Stingers here. We’re talking about something that has mid-range and higher ranges,” said one Ukrainian adviser speaking anonymously with Politico.

As for the US, the Biden administration is holding “quiet” talks on whether they could send F-15s, F16s, and Gray Eagles since September, but negotiations could be expedited after what happened yesterday.