Report: US asks Israel to send Hawk Air Defense Systems to Ukraine
The Biden administration has asked Israel to transfer its discontinued Hawk anti-aircraft systems to Ukraine.
The Pentagon requested the move from Israel two weeks ago, Axios revealed, citing sources.
Israeli defense officials replied to their US counterparts that their policy of not sending military weapons to Ukraine remains unchanged, the outlet wrote, citing an Israeli official.
Israel has rejected US and Ukrainian requests for weapons so far over concerns that it might impact its ties with Russia.
Israel shares an understanding with Russia to avoid targeting each other in Syria, where Moscow has a military presence.
Israel has targeted arms shipments bound for the Iran-backed Hezbollah militant group in Syria.
Purchased in 1960s
Israel bought the Raytheon systems from the US in the 1960s to guard against Egyptian and Syrian airstrikes, retiring them a decade ago.
The Middle Eastern country has 10 Hawk batteries and hundreds of interceptors in storage.
Israeli defense ministry officials also told their US counterparts that the systems are dysfunctional due to being mothballed for so long without maintenance.
Refurbished Missiles Usable
However, that response was not accurate, an Israeli official told Axios. He explained that the launchers may be unretrievable, but the interceptors can still be refurbished and reused.
The US has made similar requests to a number of countries that have the system in service or storage, the outlet added.
Washington announced it would send refurbished Hawk missiles from its storage as part of a defense aid package in November.
The missiles will complement six Hawk launchers Spain plans to deliver to Ukraine.
The mobile system can intercept aerial targets 45 to 50 kilometers (28 to 31 miles) away up to an altitude of 65,000 feet (20,000 meters).