Israel has in recent weeks refused requests from the US to hand over ten Hawk anti-aircraft batteries and hundreds of interceptor missiles for delivery to Ukraine. The surface-to-air missiles are mothballed in storage in Israel. But Israel has not changed its policy of not sending weapons to Ukraine, and the defensive armaments are obsolete anyway. Israel has resisted providing weapons to Ukraine since the start of Russia’s invasion. The Times of Israel reported that One major reason for Israel’s hesitance appears to be its strategic need to maintain freedom of operations in Syria, where Russian forces largely control the airspace.
Israel has provided large amounts of humanitarian aid to Ukraine, as well as other types of assistance, and the new government under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said it intends to keep those supplies flowing. The armaments were stored for the US to use in regional conflicts, and Israel has permission to use some of the supplies in emergency situations. The New York Times reported earlier this month that the US military was quietly shipping hundreds of thousands of artillery shells to Ukraine from a massive stockpile in Israel. The previous government approved of the move as Israel attempted to chart a course between maintaining ties with the US and Ukraine, and not antagonizing Russia.
The Raytheon MIM-23 HAWK (“Homing all the way killer”) is an American medium-range surface-to-air missile. It was designed to be a much more mobile counterpart to the MIM-14 Nike Hercules, trading off range and altitude capability for a much smaller size and weight. Its low-level performance was greatly improved over Nike through the adoption of new radars and a continuous wave semi-active radar homing guidance system. It entered service with the US Army in 1959. Hawk was superseded by the MIM-104 Patriot in US Army service by 1994. The last US user was the US Marine Corps, who used theirs until 2002 when they were replaced with the man-portable short-range FIM-92 Stinger. The missile was also produced outside the US in Western Europe, Japan and Iran. The US never used the Hawk in combat, but it has been employed numerous times by other nations. Approximately 40,000 of the missiles were produced.
Ukraine started to use the system to defend against the Russian invasion. The first system was made operational on 3 December 2022. Western analyists puts its accuracy at 85% chance of hitting a target. The U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin mentioned the request in a speech to the pro-Israel AIPAC lobby group earlier in January, similar request was made to other nations that still use the Hawk system, and those that also have the system in storage. Since the its deployment in 1965, the HAWK system has credited 36 aircraft and helicopter hits/downs to itself, which took place during the War of Attrition , Yom Kippur war and Peace of Galilee war. The Israelis have upgraded the Phase 2 standard with the addition of a Super Eye electro-optical TV system for detection of aircraft at 30 to 40 km and identification at 17 to 25 km. They have also modified their system for engagements at altitudes up to 24,000 m.