In a recent Whitehouse press release, it has been announced that various Soviet-era anti-aircraft defense systems acquired by the United States over the years are to be gifted to Ukrainian military forces to aid in their fight to defend their country, as reported by the WSJ.
This is called Foreign Material Exploitation. Some say that some pieces have already been shipped to Ukraine from the U.S. Army storage facility at the Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Alabama. Delivery was achieved using a U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III cargo plane that reportedly picked them up at an unspecified airfield in the Huntsville area.
This facility, as it happens, is also home to the Army’s Aviation and Missile Command (AMCOM), but it also happens to host the Defense Intelligence Agency’s (DIA) Missile and Space Intelligence Center (MSIC), which has an FME role.
DIA serves as the focal point for the Department of Defense’s entire FME enterprise, as well.
For several years now, Ukraine has been receiving various military hardware from the States including shoulder-fired surface-to-air missiles, known as man-portable air-defense systems (MANPADS).
At present, it is also not entirely clear what systems are being sent to Ukraine beyond the SA-8 “Gecko”.
It is also expected that the U.S. will release and supply more of its FME stocks to help Ukraine from other branches and departments beyond the DIA or U.S. Army.
The SA-13, and SA-15 “Gauntlet” systems, also known by the Russian nomenclature 9K35 Strela-10 and 9K332 Tor-M2E, are both tracked short-range air defense systems that would prove to be very handy in Ukraine.
Other NATO nations are also being pressurized to send any stockpiles of FME they may also possess but their closeness to the hostilities in location is making them hesitant.
From the U.S.’s point of view, the offer may not be entirely altruistic. Helping Ukraine defend itself, and potentially defeat Russian forces on their lands offers the U.S, a potential pipeline for more modern Russian military hardware.