The Pentagon announced a new $1.1 billion arms package for Ukraine on Wednesday that includes 18 High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS). So far, the US has delivered Ukraine 16 HIMARS, which are made by Lockheed Martin.
The arms package is being given to Ukraine through the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI), which allows the Biden administration to purchase arms for Kyiv. A US official said the weapons will take a “few years” to be delivered as Washington plans to arm Ukraine for the “long haul.”
According to the Pentagon, the full arms package includes:
- 18 High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) and associated ammunition
- 150 Armored High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles (HMMWVs);
- 150 Tactical Vehicles to tow weapons
- 40 trucks and 80 trailers to transport heavy equipment
- Two radars for Unmanned Aerial Systems
- 20 multi-mission radars
- Counter-Unmanned Aerial Systems
- Tactical secure communications systems, surveillance systems, and optics
- Explosive ordnance disposal equipment
- Body armor and other field equipment
- Funding for training, maintenance, and sustainment
The HIMARS that the US has been sending to Ukraine are equipped with missiles that have a range of about 50 miles. But that can change, and Kyiv is requesting Army Tactical Missile Systems, which have a range of 190 miles, but Washington has been hesitant to send the longer-range missiles. Russia has warned that providing such arms would cross a “red line.”
Also on Wednesday, William LaPlante, the undersecretary of defense for acquisition, met with representatives from 45 nations in Brussels to discuss boosting industrial capacity the make more weapons for Ukraine. According to the Pentagon, LaPlante shared plans to “increase production of ground-based long-range fires, air defense systems, air-to-ground munitions, and other capabilities.”
The Pentagon said that nearly 20 other nations also detailed plans to “strengthen and expand their nations’ industrial base to accelerate production” as part of an effort to provide “long-term support” for Ukraine.
As the US and other Western nations show no sign of backing down on their support of Ukraine in its war, Russia is preparing to absorb portions of eastern Ukraine following referendums. Once that happens, Russia will consider Ukrainian counteroffensives as attacks on Russian territory.
Funds for the US weapons packages for Ukraine are still being pulled from the $40 billion aid package President Biden signed into law back in May, but Congress is preparing to authorize more spending to support the war.
Congress unveiled on Tuesday a new $12.3 billion aid package for Ukraine that will be included in a stopgap funding bill that needs to be passed this week to avoid a government shutdown.
The $12.3 billion includes military and economic support for Ukraine and will bring total US spending on the war since Russia invaded to $65.9 billion, which is the same number as Russia’s entire military budget for 2021.