Ukraine’s Experimental ‘FrankenSAM’ Weapon Shows Gaps in US Arsenal: Expert

Ukraine’s use of US-supplied experimental weapons such as the “FrankenSAM” air defense system reflects a “huge gap” in America’s current military arsenal, a senior advisor at the Center for Strategic and International Studies has claimed.

Retired US Marine Corps colonel Mark Cancian told Business Insider that the US military does not have enough ground-based air defense systems to provide to Kyiv so it is improvising.

The “FrankenSAM” weapon is made by cobbling together Soviet-era and American systems to create a new air defense solution that can take down Russian drones and missiles.

According to Cancian, the fact that an experimental weapon is being used in an actual war to fill a critical gap exposes America’s, even NATO’s, vulnerability to Russian military power.

He said Ukraine desperately needs ground-based air defense systems as Moscow intensifies drone and missile strikes on key Ukrainian territories.

Problem With NASAMS

Cancian explained that surface-to-air weapons such as the NASAMS would have been a great air defense solution for Ukraine.

In 2022, the US committed to sending eight of the Kongsberg-manufactured systems to the war-ravaged nation.

However, it appears that Washington does not have enough NASAMS in its arsenal because it has only delivered two systems so far. The rest will reportedly be sent “as they are built.”

There is also growing demand for NASAMS from other global customers, creating a production backlog and further extending the delay in deliveries to Ukraine.

Pending deliveries, Cancian said it is possible that the US and Ukraine will make more FrankenSAM weapons to fill the gap.

First Kill

Despite being an experimental weapon, FrankenSAM has been proven effective against Russian threats.

Last month, Kyiv announced that the weapon registered its first kill against a Russian-operated Shahed kamikaze drone.

According to Ukraine’s Minister of Strategic Industries Oleksandr Kamyshin, the drone was taken down at a distance of 9 kilometers (5.6 miles).

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