US Targets VAMPIRE Drone Killer Delivery To Ukraine: Pentagon

The Department of Defense (DOD) plans to send counter-drone systems to Ukraine within the next year as Russia continues to attack Ukraine’s power systems with Iranian-made weapons.

Pentagon press secretary Pat Ryder told reporters Tuesday that the department expects to ship Vehicle-Agnostic Modular Palletized ISR Rocket Equipment, or VAMPIRE, to Ukraine by mid-2023. Ryder added that a contract for the VAMPIRE systems is expected to be finalized in the coming months.

“Air defense remains a priority,” Ryder said during the briefing.

Ukrainian school destroyed by Russian air raid
A school lies in ruins after being hit by a Russian missile during a night attack in Mykolaiv, Ukraine, November 1, 2022. The Ministry of Defense announced a prospective timeline for additional air defense systems as Russia continues to target civilian infrastructure in Ukraine.
Carl Court/Getty Images

The DOD first pledged to equip Ukraine’s military with VAMPIRE systems on August 24, as part of a $3 billion package announced on Ukraine’s Independence Day. As of October 28, the US had provided about $17.9 million in security assistance since Russia’s February 24 invasion of Ukraine began, the Defense Department reported.

According to the L3Harris website, the VAMPIRE system is capable of attacking drones and other unmanned aerial vehicles, as well as non-tactical vehicles like pickup trucks. The system is also designed to be “inexpensive” and to fit in the bed of any pickup truck or vehicle.

The US has already sent about 1,400 Stinger short-range air defense weapons to Ukraine, the DOD reported, and plans to send two of the eight promised National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems (NAMS) in the coming weeks.

A senior defense official at the Defense Ministry said in a press release Monday that Russia “is continuing its campaign of terrorist attacks on Ukraine as it targets civilian infrastructure,” reiterating that providing Ukraine with air defenses remains a priority.

“Damage to the power grid and water supply are serious concerns that are directly harming civilians,” the official added.

Russia has turned to one of its few allies, Iran, to provide drones and other equipment to further its attack on Ukraine. Ukraine’s defense ministry last week claimed Russian troops had been given Iran-made bulletproof vests and helmets after Russia reported it was struggling to manufacture equipment for soldiers.

The British Ministry of Defense has acknowledged Ukraine’s past success in shooting down Iranian drones. However, with a new shipment of Russian Killjoy missiles believed to have been sighted in Belarus on Tuesday, Ukraine’s air defense system still needs upgrading to protect it from Russian attacks.

In his nightly address on Wednesday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy thanked allies for their efforts in providing Ukraine with an “air shield”.

“I am sure that if we jointly provide Ukraine with reliable protection from this partnership – the Russian and Iranian regimes – this will be one of the strongest pages of our state history,” said Zelenskyy.

news week contacted the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine for comment on the VAMPIRE systems. US Targets VAMPIRE Drone Killer Delivery To Ukraine: Pentagon

Rick Schindler

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