State Department OKs Javelin missile sale to Ukraine

The State Department said the Javelin missile sale to Ukraine is critical to the country's security. File Photo by by Sgt. Michelle Reif/Marine Corps

Oct. 3 (UPI) — The U.S. State Department gave its approval for Ukraine’s request to purchase $39.2 million in Javelin missiles and launch systems Thursday.

In addition to 150 missiles and 10 Javelin Command Launch Units, the Ukrainian government seeks to buy training devices, transportation, support equipment, technical data and publications, personnel training and training equipment, and other support services and parts.

“The proposed sale will contribute to the foreign policy and national security of the United States by improving the security of Ukraine,” the Defense Security Cooperation Agency said in a statement.

“The Javelin system will help Ukraine build its longterm defense capacity to defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity in order to meet its national defense requirements. Ukraine will have no difficulty absorbing this system into its armed forces.”

The Javelin, a product of a joint venture by Raytheon and Lockheed Martin, is a man-portable infrared guided missile launcher in use by the United States and has been widely exported. The weapon uses a one-shot missile canister that is attached to a reusable Command Launch Unit for acquiring and engaging targets.

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The Javelin is a “fire-and-forget” weapon that uses its own independent seeker head after launch, rather than requiring the user to maintain lock until the missile strikes the target. The CLU can be used independently of the missile as a thermal surveillance tool.

The missile is capable of a “pop-up” attack where it can target a tank from above, allowing it to penetrate the thinner armor on top of the vehicles’ turret. It is also able to target low-flying helicopters under some circumstances.

On Thursday, Air Force Gen. Tod Wolters, the top commander for U.S. and NATO forces in Europe, said the United States should provide the missiles to Ukraine. He told reporters the Javelin system is instrumental in defending against Russian-backed forces in the Donbass region.

Stephen Carlson contributed to this report.

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