Anti-radiation missiles are being credited as a critical component to aid Ukraine in taking out Russian weapon systems, The Hill reported Saturday.
The missiles, which have only recently been confirmed, are, according to one Ukrainian pilot, just one component in an otherwise complex puzzle.
The pilot, who goes by the call sign "Juice," says his country's air force has used the missiles to subdue Russian air defense systems.
U.S. Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, Colin Kahl, confirmed their presence in Ukraine Monday and that they were delivered as part of a lethal aid package.
"It's a great support for us," Juice said. "Actually, it's one of the most advanced weapons that we have at the moment."
While the Department of Defense has not confirmed the type of missile nor the amount, CNN reports they are AGM-88 High-Speed Anti-Radiation Missiles, which can travel more than 30 miles.
"They are very expensive and we have a limited number," Juice stated, noting they must be used selectively only to take out the Russian army's "most dangerous" long-range missile systems.
So far, the anti-radiation missiles are credited for aiding in destroying at least five "Russian anti-aircraft artillery systems, four S-300 long-range surface-to-air missile systems, and a Pantsir-S1 missile system."
Still, despite the success, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has pleaded his country needs more help.
So, the Pentagon has indicated it is preparing to scale up its cooperation with Ukraine's Air Force — a critical component in the nation's defense — by allowing U.S. service members to train Ukrainian pilots on advanced American fighter jets.
"There are real questions about what would be most useful in terms of assisting the Ukrainian Air Force and improving its capabilities. It's not inconceivable that down the road, Western aircraft could be part of the mix on that, but the final analysis has not been done," Kahl stated.
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