Pentagon Proposes ‘Frankenstein’ Solution for Ukraine Air Defense

The Pentagon has cobbled together air defense systems for Ukraine from an array of parts donated by allies and partners.

The FrankenSAM program systems employ non-traditional effectors such as air-to-air missiles, removing the reliance on traditional munitions. 

Air Defense to Launch Sidewinder

One of the launchers fabricated using parts such as radars can launch AIM-9M Sidewinder missiles, Associated Press revealed, citing a US defense official.

The Raytheon air-to-air missile is part of Pentagon military packages for Ukraine announced in August and earlier this month.

Its operational range is up to 22 miles (35 kilometers).

Soviet System With Shipborne Missile

Additionally, a Soviet-era Buk air-defense system launcher has been modified to launch the RIM-7 missile, which the US has a surplus of, according to the outlet.

Conversely, Ukraine has a lot of Buk systems but not enough missiles. 

The RIM-7 is a shipborne short-range anti-aircraft missile with an operational range of about 12.4 miles (20 kilometers).

Both the systems will be delivered to Ukraine in the fall, Associated Press wrote, citing US officials.

Obsolete Systems Revamped

The program was launched months ago and includes revamping obsolete air defense systems such as the decades-old Hawk.

According to the outlet, the US has sent some revamped Hawk systems to Ukraine. 

The US Army retired the system in the early 1990s while the US Marines decommissioned it in the early 2000s.

Much-Needed Lifeline

The program’s novelty is particularly remarkable as the US Congress delayed approving additional funds for Ukraine. 

The US can send about $5.4 billion worth of arms to Ukraine from its stocks, enough to last several months, according to Associated Press.

“The US, however, only has about $1.6 billion to replenish US stocks that are needed by the military services, and there are greater worries about that running out,” the outlet added.

Citing senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies Mark Cancian, the outlet earlier wrote that if the aid does not keep flowing, the Ukrainian resistance will start “feeling it by Thanksgiving.”

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