US confirms supplying Ukraine with previously-undisclosed missiles
The US military has confirmed the delivery of American anti-radar missiles to Ukraine in a bid to facilitate the targeting of Russian radar system by Ukrainian warplanes.
The US Defense Department's Undersecretary for Policy Colin Kahl declared at a press briefing on Monday that Pentagon had shipped "a number" of the missiles to Ukraine without elaborating on how many and when they had been sent, CNN reported Tuesday, adding that Kahl did not explicitly state what type of anti-radiation missile had been shipped.
Citing a military official, however, the US-based news broadcaster identified the type of the missile sent as "the AGM-88 High-Speed Anti-Radiation Missile (HARM)," marking the first time the Pentagon has acknowledged sending the previously undisclosed missile to Ukraine.
The senior Pentagon official disclosed that the US had also helped Kiev with the delivery of spare parts for Russian Mig-29 warplanes to keep Ukraine's Soviet-era fighter jets flying. Kahl then mentioned the missiles, saying they "can have effects on Russian radars and other things."
The missiles, the report added, can be used to target Russian anti-aircraft radar systems — such as the S-400 — which have made it very difficult for the Ukrainian Air Force to operate over large swaths of the country's airspace. The missiles can also target Russian counter-battery radars, which are used to target Ukrainian artillery.
Kahl further pointed out that the missiles had been shipped over "in recent [Presidential Drawdown Authority] packages," but the five most recent packages, dating to July 1, make no mention of HARMs.
"In the near term, we've been doing lots of things to make Ukraine's existing Air Force stay in the air and be more capable," he said.
Ukrainian officials, however, have not publicly acknowledged receiving or using the HARMs.
In recent days, CNN noted, "open source reports have shown the remains of what appear to be the fin of a HARM missile that targeted a Russian position in Ukraine."
Made by major US weapons maker Raytheon, HARMs have a range in excess of 30 miles, according to the US Air Force, making them one of the longer-range missiles the US has provided to Ukraine.
Kahl unveiled the shipment of the missiles to Ukraine in a briefing about Washington's latest $1-billion weapons package for Kiev, the largest package of US weapons to date.
With the latest package, the US has committed to sending Ukraine a total of $9.1 billion in military assistance since the outset of Russia's "special military operation" in Ukraine in late February.