Updated: May 30
Missiles for the HAWK Air Defense System and four Avenger Air Defense Systems equipped with Stinger missiles are headed to Ukraine as part of a presidential drawdown authority security assistance package worth up to $400 million.
The HAWK missiles, being taken out of mothballs, will be refurbished using Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative funds, which will complement Spain's recent commitment of HAWK launchers to help Ukraine meet this threat, and "The Avenger" short-range air defense systems will also provide Ukraine with the capability to protect Ukrainian troops and critical infrastructure against unmanned aerial systems and helicopters."
There are many questions surrounding the deployment of the older HAWK Systems. The primary question will be long it will take to get the older mothballed systems operational.
A HAWK Missile Battery consists of multiple launchers, radars, and ancillary support equipment. While mobile, unlike the two-man Avenger system mounted on highly mobile HUMVEEs, HAWK systems are not designed as "move & shoot" weapons.
Once moved, a HAWK battery requires extensive manpower to set up, synchronize, and test the various components before being fully operational again.
Traditionally, a HAWK battery also requires many highly trained military personnel to operate. How will Ukrainian troops be trained, and how long will it take to get them up to speed? Training classes on this specific system no longer exist at the Army's Air Defense School.
And finally, there will be a high reliance on the system manufacturer, Raytheon, to provide high-cost troop training, higher-echelon technical support, and the replacement components and parts needed to keep a HAWK battery operational.
Despite his affectionate nostalgia for the HAWK system, this author believes America needs to supply Ukraine with more Avenger systems and maybe let the HAWK systems stay where they belong... in mothballs.
(Sources: Forbes, Newsweek, Defense.Com)
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