UA seeks AD systems from the US – but which?

Long ago when Valery Chaly was working as a leading light in President Proshenko’s Bankova administration, the blog once stated that he could become a political threat to President Poroshenko and that a move would probably occur.

10th July 2015 unsurprisingly witnessed Mr Chaly moved from the Presidential Administration and become His Excellency the Ambassador of Ukraine to the USA.

As expected as Ambassador he has done a very good job.

It is difficult think of anybody else within Ukraine that could or would have done a better job.

Thus when he makes public statements they are usually worth listening to – especially if they relate to matters some still consider “sensitive” when it comes to selling/giving arms to Ukraine.

(The blog is clearly insensitive when it comes to the matter of providing Ukraine with defensive lethal weaponry as it very much supports such action.)

Thus when Amb Chaly makes a statement on public radio in the US relating to Ukraine officially requesting what prima facie appears to be modern and significant air defence systems, it is probably an accurate statement.

Further Amb Chaly went on to state that one such system has the price tag of $750 million and that Ukraine would require 3 to meet its current needs.  Nevertheless the statement appears clear enough that at the current time a single unit has been officially requested.

Indeed his statement left no room for misunderstanding, orating that the issue has been discussed between the relevant presidents and John Bolton on more than one occasion.

The US State Department gave its usual (and wise) boilerplate response to requests for further information, or even confirmation – “In accordance with the official policy of the State Department, we do not comment on potential deals on the sale or transfer of weapons and agreements that are at the stage of agreement – before they are officially informed of the US Congress.”  Quite right.

What was also (deliberately) left unspoken was which system Ukraine has requested.

The price tag may give an indication as to which system – or not.  It is unclear whether that price tag is discounted, or whether a proportion of the cost is shifted onto a long term maintenance contract etc. thus blurring the true system price tag.

Whatever the case, as the blog has long lamented the obvious inability of Ukraine to defend its airspace or maritime territory effectively – thus A2AD, EW, more EW, yet more EW, UAVs etc becoming a priority above ground forces – this appears to be a very positive assessment of the current Ukrainian limitations and weaknesses.

That is not to belittle the requirements for more counter-battery and counter-sniper equipment, it is simply to acknowledge that previously (slightly) lesser priorities are reaching the top of the Ukrainian military procurement list – and that in and of itself indicates some form of progress/momentum.

A reader may ponder just how interoperable, or indeed the ability to assimilate (in the future) the requested system with the US (and domestic) systems in neighbouring nations (read Poland and Romania) will be.

How much Ukrainian (or US) thought went into that when the Ukrainians were requesting this system is unknown.  After all, behind price, capabilities, maintenance, and reliability, there are other broader and long term issues to consider.

Whatever the case, discussions behind the curtain have now seen the curtain skirts raised a little by this statement, and the issue is now unambiguously in the public realm – which then raises the question of the timing of this statement for both Ukraine and the US Congress.