US to send Ukraine air defense missiles in next aid package-officials

The American and Ukrainian flags wave next to each other.

By Mike Stone

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Biden administration will provide Ukraine with $150 million worth of weapons and ammunition, including HAWK air defense interceptors and 155 millimeter artillery munitions, two U.S. officials said on Friday.

The weapons aid package is expected be unveiled on Monday, the officials said, declining to be named because the package was not public.

The administration is responding to Ukraine's desperate requests for air defense support as Russia has pounded Ukrainian energy facilities in recent weeks via aerial attacks.

The U.S. began shipping HAWK interceptor missiles to Ukraine in 2022 as an upgrade to the shoulder-launched Stinger air defense missile systems - a smaller, shorter-range system.

The MIM-23 HAWK - an acronym for "Homing All the Way Killer" - was introduced in the 1950s and upgraded over the years to deal with jamming and other countermeasures. It was eventually exported to more than a dozen countries, according the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Life Cycle Management Command.

In addition to the HAWK interceptors and 155 millimeter artillery munitions, the package will include other munitions and equipment to support Ukraine's defense needs, the sources added.

The package will come from Presidential Drawdown Authority, a mechanism that allows the president to quickly transfer defense articles and services from U.S. stocks to support allies.

The U.S. has provided Ukraine with more than $50 billion dollars in military aid since 2022.

(This story has been refiled with the dropped word '1950s' in paragraph 5)

(Reporting by Mike Stone in Washington, Editing by Alexandra Alper and Cynthia Osterman)