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11 Jan, 2024 08:52

No timeline for delivery of air-defense system to Ukraine – Canadian media

Ottawa has transferred hundreds of millions of dollars to the US for the production of a NASAMS battery
No timeline for delivery of air-defense system to Ukraine – Canadian media

A Canadian-funded, US-Norwegian air-defense system pledged a year ago by Ottawa to Ukraine has yet to materialize, CTV News television network reported this week. The update came as the Ukrainian military stated that the country was experiencing a shortage of anti-aircraft systems and munitions.

Kiev is counting on foreign donors to provide more air defense systems in the near future. Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba said interceptors for Western-made systems were a “top priority that must be completed today, not tomorrow.”

The government of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pledged to fund the production of a National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System or NASAMS for Ukraine in January 2023. To cut red tape, Ottawa decided to pay the money directly to the US rather than purchase the weapon system itself. Funding of CA$406 million (US$304 million) was reportedly transferred to the US last March.

CTV News contacted the Norwegian-based defense firm Kongsberg, which co-produces NASAMS with the American giant RTX Corporation (formerly Raytheon), and asked about progress on the manufacturing of the system. A spokesman responded that the company had yet to receive a contract.

“The acquisition authority is still processing the procurement of the Canadian donation,” Kongsberg Vice President for Communication Ivar Simensen wrote.

Public disclosures by the US government reported a $1.2 billion contract for NASAMS meant for Ukraine signed in November 2022.

The uncertainty about the delivery was highlighted earlier this month by the Ottawa Citizen newspaper, which quoted the Department of National Defense as saying that “details on plans, including delivery timelines, are still under development with the United States.”

The newspaper contrasted this with statements by Canadian officials, including then-Defense Minister Anita Anand, who told local media last April that the NASAMS was already “en route” to Ukraine and would arrive “as soon as possible.”

Discussing Ottawa’s military assistance to Kiev in general, the report noted that “obtaining some of the details about [it] has been difficult.” As an example, it cited conflicting statements by military officials about the cost of replacing the army’s equipment donated to Ukraine.