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Which Portable Air Defense, Air Attack Missiles Australia can Send to Ukraine in the New $100 million Aid Package

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Illustrative photo: JASSM missile at a military expo in Australia, 2009 / Photo credit: Robert Frola on Flickr
Illustrative photo: JASSM missile at a military expo in Australia, 2009 / Photo credit: Robert Frola on Flickr

The new military aid package in preparation by the Australian government will provide $100 million worth of weapons to repel russian airstrikes and help Ukraine be successful on the frontlines

Yesterday, on April 27th, Ukraine's Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal welcomed the Australian delegation in Lviv, Ukraine. After meeting with the Deputy Prime Minister – Minister for Defence Richard Marles, he briefly announced the contents of a new support package from Canberra amounting to $100 million for procurement of military equipment and a direct transfer of "air-to-ground munitions."

Read more: ​Greek Patriots, Swedish RBS 70, Other Types of Air Defense Ukraine Can Receive from European Allies
Australian defense minister Richard Marles during his meeting with Ukrainian troops, April 27th, 2024 / Defense Express / Which Portable Air Defense, Air Attack Missiles Australia can Send to Ukraine in the New $100 million Aid Package
Australian defense minister Richard Marles during his meeting with Ukrainian troops, April 27th, 2024 / Photo credit: Richard Marles on X

The official statement from the Ministry of Defense of Australia later that day specifies the contents. Namely, $50 mln will sponsor military acquisitions from the Australian defense industry: "$30 million towards uncrewed aerial systems, and $15 million towards other high priority equipment, such as combat helmets, rigid hull inflatable boats, boots, fire masks and generators."

Then, the other $50 mln will be directed toward purchasing short-range air defense systems. The exact product is not specified, according to the Ukrainian PM, these are "a large batch of man-portable anti-aircraft missiles." Presuming those funds will be used for procurement of replacements of equipment handed directly from the stocks of the Australian Armed Forces, like in the U.S. military aid program, we could expect Australians to send their RBS-70 man-held anti-air missiles.

RBS-70 is a Swedish man-portable short-range missile system, it can take down targets within the operator's line of sight by guiding a missile with a laser beam, pretty much like the Vampire system with APKWS missiles. The Australian Army is gradually decommissioning those from service in favor of bulkier yet more capable NASAMS medium-range anti-aircraft systems.

Australian air defense operators fire the RBS 70 MANPADS during Talisman Sabre 2021 drills / Defense Express / Which Portable Air Defense, Air Attack Missiles Australia can Send to Ukraine in the New $100 million Aid Package
Australian air defense operators fire the RBS 70 MANPADS during Talisman Sabre 2021 drills / Illustrative image credit: Ministyof Defense of Australia

As for the air-to-ground precision munitions the Australian defense ministry is planning to hand over to the Ukrainian Air Force, the variety is much wider. The Australian Royal Air Force has already familiar to the Ukrainian aviation AGM-88 HARM anti-radar missiles and JDAM precision-guided bombs, both have been integrated with Ukraine's Soviet-era attack aircraft.

Also, the Australian military could offer AGM-158 JASSM cruise missiles which Ukraine was promised by an undisclosed country, as surfaced in February 2024. These missiles, so far as known, cannot be used by Ukraine's inherent aviation fleet but are compatible with F-16 multirole fighters expected to arrive in summer this year. Another weapon available in the Australian air-to-surface arsenal is the AGM-154 JSOW glide bomb that can be dropped miles away from the target.

Read more: Arms for Ukrainian F-16: JASSM Missiles of 370 km Range in Priority – Forbes