Ukraine asks US for new anti-drone weapon – ABC
Kiev wants American C-RAM guns to counter “Iranian” drones used by Russia
The government in Kiev has requested from the US a number of C-RAM minigun air defense systems to counter Russian strikes by Iranian-designed drones, according to a letter signed by the chairman of the Ukrainian parliament Ruslan Stefanchuk and obtained by ABC News.
Stefanchuk reportedly wrote to senior members of the US Congress, asking for weapons to “protect important objects, especially crucial power plants.” He also asked for longer-range missiles – presumably for the US-supplied HIMARS rocket artillery – so the Ukrainian military can target drone launching areas “deep behind the enemy lines.”
The Raytheon-made Land-based Phalanx Weapons Systems (LPWS) are the US Army version of naval point defense guns, commonly known as Counter-Rocket, Artillery, Mortar (C-RAM) systems. The LPWS is mounted on a tractor-trailer for mobility. The US military has used them to protect high-value targets, such as its embassies in places like Baghdad and Kabul, against incoming mortars and rockets.
While the Pentagon would not comment on specific Ukrainian requests, the US military said it was focusing on “equipment that is relevant for the current fight.”
“We are working around the clock to fulfill Ukraine’s priority security assistance requests, delivering weapons from US stocks when they are available,” Pentagon spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Garron Garn told ABC.
Meanwhile, Ukraine announced the delivery of two NASAMS air defense systems on Monday. Six more were promised by Washington in August, but will take time to arrive.
Following the Ukrainian attack on the Crimean Bridge in early October, Russia has struck infrastructure targets across Ukraine, crippling the country’s electrical grid. Many of the attacks were carried out by Geran-2 drones, which resemble the Iranian Shahed-136s.
Accused by Ukraine of selling strike drones to Russia, Tehran said it had provided Moscow with a “small number” of drones before the hostilities escalated in February, suggesting the ones currently in use were built domestically using Iranian blueprints. Officials in Kiev have called for “strikes” – presumably by the US – on Iranian drone and missile manufacturing facilities, so far to no effect.