$1 Billion Support Package for Ukraine, Largest Yet

Source: DoD (Defense.gov)

The Defense Department today detailed the contents of the latest security assistance package to Ukraine, which is worth $1 billion. Provided under presidential drawdown authority — the 18th drawdown so far — the package includes additional ammunition for both the high mobility artillery rocket and howitzer systems. 

“This is the largest single drawdown of U.S. arms and equipment utilizing this authority to date,” Colin Kahl, the undersecretary of defense for policy, said. “The package provides a significant amount of additional ammunition, weapons and equipment — the types of which the Ukrainian people are using so effectively to defend their country.” 

Among the items included in the latest package are additional ammunition for the high mobility artillery rocket system, or HIMARS; 75,000 rounds of 155 mm artillery ammunition; twenty 120 mm mortar systems and 20,000 rounds of 120 mm mortar ammunition; munitions for the National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems, or NASAMS; and 1,000 Javelin and hundreds of AT4 anti-armor systems. 

“These are all critical capabilities to help the Ukrainians repel the Russian offensive in the east, and also to address evolving developments in the south and elsewhere,” Kahl said. 

Since the Russian invasion on Feb. 24, 2022, the U.S. has sent about $9.1 billion in security assistance to the Ukrainians through both the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative and presidential drawdown authority. 

Presidential drawdown authority, or PDA, allows the president in certain circumstances to withdraw weapons, ammunitions and material from existing U.S. military stocks and provide that to other nations. As part of the USAI, the DOD contracts for the purchase of materiel to be sent. 

“The United States continues to work with its allies and partners to provide Ukraine with capabilities to meet its evolving battlefield requirements and our allies and partners have stepped up to provide billions of dollars in their own assistance,” Kahl said. “We will continue to closely consult with Ukraine and surge additional available systems and capabilities in support of its defense.” 

While this security assistance package doesn’t contain additional HIMARS launch systems, it does contain additional munitions for systems the U.S. has already sent to Ukraine, Kahl said. 

One type of munition the department has sent to Ukraine for use in the HIMARS is the “Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System” or GMLRS, which are precision-guided systems with a range of about 70km. Kahl said the U.S. had provided “hundreds” of those systems in the past few weeks and that the Ukrainians have been using them successfully. 

“The munitions themselves, these GMLRS … are having a very profound effect,” he said. “This is a 200-pound warhead, it’s kind of the equivalent of an airstrike, frankly — a precision-guided airstrike. These are GPS-guided munitions. They’ve been very effective in hitting things that previously the Ukrainians had difficulty hitting reliably.” 

Kahl said the Ukrainians have used the HIMARS along with provided GMLRS rockets to hit Russian command and control nodes, sustainment and logistics hubs and key radar systems, for instance. 

“It’s made it more difficult for the Russians to move forces around the battlefield,” he said. “They’ve had to move certain aspects back away from the HIMARS. It’s slowed them down. It’s made it harder for them to resupply their forces. So I think it’s having real operational effects.” 

The latest security assistance package also includes 50 armored medical treatment vehicles; Claymore anti-personnel munitions; C-4 explosives, demolition munitions and demolition equipment; and medical supplies such as first aid kits, bandages, monitors and other equipment, Kahl said.