In a move prioritizing Ukraine’s urgent need for defense, the United States is fast-tracking deliveries of advanced anti-air missile systems, the Pentagon announced on Thursday, June 20.

Missiles on the Move: US Expedites Patriot and NASAMS Deliveries

The strategic significance of the Patriot air defense system and NASAMS (National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System) missiles, crucial in countering Russian airstrikes, is underscored as they are being expedited to Ukraine, potentially causing delays for other countries on the waiting list.

“[W] e’re going to reprioritize the deliveries of these exports so that those missiles rolling off the production line will now be provided to Ukraine,” John Kirby, White House National Security Communications Advisor, told reporters via teleconference. “As a result, deliveries of these missiles to other countries that are currently in the queue will have to be delayed.”

This prioritization comes as Russia intensifies attacks on Ukrainian infrastructure, particularly the energy grid.

Pentagon spokesman Major General Patrick Ryder, in a separate press briefing on June 20, explained that while there had been no change in policy, Ukrainian forces are not limited to using these weapons near Kharkiv when engaging Russian troops.

“Russia once again trying to destroy Ukraine’s energy system and infrastructure ahead of winter,” explained Pentagon spokesman Major General Pat Ryder. “And so they (Ukraine) urgently need air defense — additional air defense capabilities.”

“[I] t’s self-defense, and so it makes sense for them to be able to do that,” he added.

If you recall, President Joe Biden quietly approved last month Kyiv’s use of US-supplied weapons to target military sites inside Russia. However, officials later clarified that this decision only applied to targets near the border with Ukraine’s eastern Kharkiv region.

Ukraine air defense systems
A fleet of air defense systems arrived in Ukraine. (Image grab via @ZelenskyyUa/X)

Domestic Production Gets a Boost

Beyond immediate deliveries, the US is taking another significant step towards long-term Ukrainian defense.

American defense giant Northrop Grumman revealed at Eurosatory 2024 its plans to establish a medium-caliber ammunition production facility inside Ukraine.

“We’ve been working, as you know, in Ukraine to produce medium [caliber munitions]. That’s our first project that’s paid for with Ukrainian dollars,” remarked Dave Bartell, director of international business for Northrop’s defense systems sector, Breaking Defense quoted in a Tuesday article.

“We are looking to expand that into tank ammo, 155mm, others as we find innovative processes,” Bartell added.

This marks the first such venture by a US company in the war-torn nation. Funded by the Ukrainian government, the project has the potential to expand to larger caliber munitions in the future.

This production plant is also just one piece of a broader US strategy.

The State Department previously announced a $2 billion Ukraine Defense Enterprise Program to bolster the country’s domestic weapons production capabilities.

This initiative follows similar commitments from European defense firms like Rheinmetall and KNDS, who are setting up production lines for armored vehicles and artillery ammunition within Ukraine.

The Fight Goes On

By prioritizing immediate air defense needs, facilitating domestic production, and collaborating with allies, the US is sending a clear message: Ukraine’s fight for its future will be supported for the long haul.

This multi-faceted approach aims to equip Ukraine with the tools it needs to not only defend itself now but also ensure its ability to deter future aggression.

Poltava region
A Ukrainian fireman puts out a burning building following a Russian strike at the Poltava region on June 18. (Image grab via @ZelenskyyUa/X)

Closing Thoughts: In a move prioritizing Ukraine’s urgent need for missiles, the US is fast-tracking fancy air defense systems, potentially delaying deliveries for other countries. Looks like Uncle Sam’s got another shopping spree to fund – between missiles, building factories in Ukraine, and holding hands with Europe, guess who’s footing the bill? We are!

Disclaimer: SOFREP utilizes AI for image generation and article research. Occasionally, it’s like handing a chimpanzee the keys to your liquor cabinet. It’s not always perfect and if a mistake is made, we own up to it full stop. In a world where information comes at us in tidal waves, it is an important tool that helps us sift through the brass for live rounds.