Pentagon to send longer-range radars to Ukraine
The U.S. Defense Department is going to provide Ukraine with bigger, longer-range radar to help it counter artillery being used by Russia-backed rebels.
The proposal still requires approval from the White House, which is considering another package of nonlethal assistance for Ukraine. The deliberations are taking place alongside rising pressure on Washington to better help Kyiv counter a rebellion that continues to regularly claim lives, despite a five-month-old ceasefire, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Ukraine’s military “would benefit from having more counter-battery radar as well as more capable radar,” one senior Obama administration official said.
The administration decided early this year against sending Ukraine deadly weaponry, such as artillery or portable air-defense systems, for fear of escalating the more than year-old conflict or provoking Russia. But administration officials say that the new radar doesn’t count as offensive or lethal aid, and so wouldn’t require a policy shift.
Providing the counter-battery radar—which uses the trajectory of an incoming projectile to determine where it was fired from—would meet a request of Ukrainian leaders for capabilities to look deeper into rebel-held territory, and to more accurately fire back.
The U.S. has already provided Ukraine with 20 lightweight counter-mortar radar units, with another 10 due to be transferred by the end of this year, officials said. Those units have a range only of about 6 miles. Other nonlethal aid such as medical kits, night-vision goggles and Kevlar vests has also been sent.
The U.S. Army is now looking to provide what is known as AN/TPQ-36 and 37 Fire finder radars to Ukraine, according to U.S. officials, with ranges of between 15 and 31 miles. Pentagon officials said they were already seeking available units and laying the groundwork to start shipping them, pending a White House decision.
The White House, however, continues to oppose providing offensive, lethal weaponry such as Javelin antitank weapons—the top request of the Ukrainian military.
“There is not any desire to put in place equipment that would be seen as escalatory and exacerbate the situation on the ground,” said the senior official.