Ukraine Negotiating With The U.S. For Patriot Missile Defense System And F-16 Fighter Jets

Artist’s illustration of F-16V Block 70/72 aircraft. An expert said that Lockheed Martin is investing in F-16V Block 70/72 upgrades to prepare it for possible future acquisition by the US Air Force. (L3Harris)

Politico, citing its sources, writes that Ukraine and the U.S. continue negotiations on the supply of Patriot air defense systems, F-16 fighter jets and Grey Eagle drones, but quietly.

The publication notes that Ukraine has stopped publicly asking for high-tech weapons, but this does not mean that negotiations have stopped. There has simply been a transition in recent weeks from loud calls for air defense and fighter jet deliveries to quieter negotiations. According to Ukrainian government advisers, Pentagon officials and defense industry executives, both sides are discussing whether to send the requested weapons to Ukraine.

Thus, discussions on Patriot are now at an early stage in the U.S. Defense Department. The final decision will be made by U.S. President Joe Biden. But the fact that officials are talking about such a possibility is a major shift from this spring, when they rejected the idea.

Patriot is a system designed to destroy aircraft, ballistic or cruise missiles. In addition to the U.S., 17 countries, including Romania and Poland, use the system. One of the obstacles to supply is the lack of these air defense systems, because they are used in U.S. allies in Europe, the Middle East and the Pacific. However, there is a possibility that the U.S. will sign a contract with Raytheon to build additional systems for Kyiv, instead of handing over the relatively rare Patriot systems in U.S. service.

If the U.S. decides to go the acquisition route, the Ukrainians will not wait years for Patriot deliveries. The timeline is similar to the weapons shipments announced by the Biden administration in August as part of a $3 billion package that directly funds contracts with the U.S. defense industry.

Talks of delivering the MQ-1C Grey Eagle drone have also been going on for months. America has several concerns, including the potential loss of technology if the Russian military shoots down the drone.

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