The United States is considering sending older HAWK air defence system to Ukraine to defend against Russian drone and cruise missile attacks, according to the officials quoted by Reuters.
The HAWK interceptor missiles would be an upgrade to the Stinger missile systems, which is a smaller, shorter-range air defence system which is already provided by the US to Ukraine.
The Biden administration would use the Presidential Drawdown Authority (PDA) to transfer the HAWK equipment based on Vietnam-era technology but has been upgraded several times. The PDA allows the United States to quickly transfer defence articles and services from stocks without congressional approval in response to an emergency.
However, it is not clear how many HAWK systems and missiles, the US has available to transfer to Ukraine, Reuters said.
The HAWK system is the predecessor to the PATRIOT missile defence system made by Raytheon Technologies, which remains off the table for Ukraine.
US President Joe Biden pledged to Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy that Washington would provide Ukraine with advanced air systems after a devastating missile barrage from Russia earlier this month.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has said that Spain intends to send four HAWK launchers to Ukraine. The US is likely to send interceptor missiles for the HAWK system to Ukraine because it was unclear if enough US launchers were in good condition or not because the US systems have been in storage for decades.
A PDA is being considered for later this week, U.S. officials have said. One U.S. official said it would likely be about half the size of the recent security assistance packages which have been around $700 million.
Since 24 February, the Russian invasion of neighbouring Ukraine, which Moscow calls a "special military operation", the United States has sent around USD 17.6 billion worth of security assistance to Kyiv.