US in talks with Slovakia and Bulgaria to provide S-300 air defense missile systems to Ukraine


According to information published by several international press agencies, on March 19, 2022, the United States is in talks with Slovakia and Bulgaria to provide Soviet-made S-300 air defense missile systems which are in service in these two countries to help Ukraine in the fight against the Russian army.
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Slovak army TEL Transporter Erector Launcher vehicle of S-300 PMU Soviet-made air defense missile system. (Picture source Army Recognition)


Both countries are ready to provide their S-300 air defense missile systems but in return, the United States will have to provide new systems so as not to weaken the air defenses of these two countries. The U.S. Department of Defense will continue to hold talks in order to convince Bulgaria and Slovakia to provide S-300 air defense missile systems as well as ammunition.

According to the military balance 2021, Slovakia has one air defense brigade equipped Soviet-made 2K12 Kub NATO designation SA-6 Gainful and S-300 PMU NATO designation SA-10 Grumble while Bulgaria has 12 S-200 NATO designation SA-5 Gammon, S-300P (SA 10 Grumble), S-125 Pechora NATO designation SA-3 Goa and 2K12 Kub NATO designation SA-6 Gainful.

On March 17, 2022, the U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III was in Bratislava to discuss the military relationship between the United States and Slovakia with the Slovak Defense Minister Jaroslav Naď.

U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin said: “I'm honored to be in Slovakia at this critical moment for European security. And I wanted to be here in person as a sign of our unity, and as strength of America’s relationship with Slovakia, both bilaterally and as fellow NATO allies. Now as NATO allies, we stand united in support of Ukraine and its right to defend its sovereign territories. We’re committed to helping the brave Ukrainian people as they protect themselves and their freedom from Russia’s unjust and unprovoked invasion.”

Speaking at a press briefing, Slovak Defense Minister Jaroslav Naď said: “This is the first in-person visit by a U.S. Secretary of Defense to Slovakia in 20 years. It is a clear signal of our friendship and alliance. This meeting has given us the opportunity to discuss a whole range of very important issues that are related to the defense of the Slovak Republic as much as to the defense of the Alliance’s Eastern Flank, and also to the situation in Ukraine.”

On the S-300 air defense missile systems in service with the armed forces in Slovakia and the potential decision to transfer them to Ukraine, Slovak Defense Minister Jaroslav Naď reiterated that the MOD's position remains unchanged – it is not possible to give away the missile defense systems that are currently protecting Slovakia airspace without receiving adequate replacements.

The S-300P is the first generation of air defense missile system in the Soviet-made S-300 family. The launcher station is mounted on a trailer with four ready launcher tube containers each with one missile ready to fire.

The S-300P can launch the 5V55 missile family including 5V55K which has a firing range of 47 km and the 5V55R missile which has a range of 75 km, and the 5V55KD missile with a range of 90 km. The S-300P can also launch the 5V55S missile fitted with a nuclear warhead.

The S-300 PMU is the first export variant in the S-300 family that was introduced in 1992. The S-300 PMU was specifically designed to improve system mobility and is basically the key element of the S-300P system, repackaged to fit on modified MAZ-543 (8 × 8) cross-country truck chassis.

The S-300 PMU launches the missile Fakel 5V55RUD. This missile had further rocket motor improvements to increase the maximum effective engagement range to 90 km and introduced terminal semi-active radar homing (SARH) guidance mode. The minimum effective range is 5,000 m. Altitude limits are 10 to 27,000 m with target velocity up to 1,200 m/s.


US in talks with Slovakia and Bulgaria to provide S 300 air defense missile systems to Ukraine 925 002
Bulgaria army TEL Transporter Erector Launcher vehicle of S-300 air defense missile system (Picture source Wikimedia).


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