Pentagon awards Raytheon $1.2 billion contract for Ukrainian NASAMS

FILE PHOTO: A Raytheon building is shown in San Diego

By Mike Stone

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The U.S. Army awarded a $1.2 billion contract to Raytheon Technologies Co for six National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems (NASAMS) for Ukraine on Wednesday, the Pentagon said.

The United States has approved sending Ukraine a total of eight NASAMS to help fend off Russian missile and drone attacks.

Ukraine received its first delivery of two NASAMS air defense systems in November. Others will be delivered in future months once they are built.

"NASAMS are just the latest in the diverse set of air-defense capabilities we are delivering to Ukraine," said Bill LaPlante, Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment.

These six NASAMS systems were part of the fifth Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI) package which was announced on Aug. 24 and had a total value of $2.98 billion, according to an Army Statement. USAI funds allow the Biden administration to procure weapons from industry rather than taking weapons from existing U.S. weapons stocks.

The contract is for the NASAMS batteries, training, and logistical support to Ukraine's military and security forces.

Funds for the two other NASAMS came from the third USAI package announced in July.

Last week Doug Bush, the chief weapons buyer for the Army, told reporters the U.S. Army is accelerating its weapons acquisition process to speed through a backlog of contracts needed to replenish U.S. stocks of weapons depleted by arms shipments to Ukraine.

The Pentagon has said the newly U.S.-provided NASAMS air defense systems so far have had a 100% success rate in Ukraine intercepting Russian missiles.

In total, the United States has committed more than $19.3 billion in security assistance to Ukraine since the beginning of the Biden Administration.

(Reporting by Mike Stone in Washington; Editing by Mark Porter, Nick Zieminski and Grant McCool)