The US is in talks with Middle East countries to shift some of their air defense systems to Ukraine, Politico reported.
Washington wants to send second-hand National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems (NASAMS) from the countries to Ukraine in three to six months and backfill them with new ones in two years, the outlet wrote, citing Raytheon CEO Greg Hayes.
No potential suppliers were mentioned. However, Oman and Qatar have purchased the Raytheon-Kongsberg system.
Oman bought the system in 2013 for $1.28 billion, with delivery in 2016. Qatar purchased it in 2018 for $2 billion.
“There are NASAMS deployed across the Middle East, and some of our NATO allies and we [the US] are actually working with a couple of Middle Eastern countries that currently employ NASAMS and trying to direct those back up to Ukraine,” the outlet quoted Hayes as saying.
NASAMS has a longer range than any other Western air defense system delivered to Ukraine.
It takes two years to build the system and six months of training to operate it. However, Ukrainian soldiers learned to operate the system in 60 days, according to Politico.
The US has delivered two NASAMS to Ukraine, promising more. The US Army awarded Raytheon a $1.2 billion contract last week to deliver six NASAMS for Ukraine by 2025.