The war in Ukraine has entered a critical juncture. Besides the cold and snow, the winter threatens to bring with it a stalemate that could freeze the Ukrainian momentum and allow Russia back into the game after a string of humiliating defeats all across the battlefield.
To prevent this from happening, the U.S. is sending another package of military aid to Ukraine worth almost $2 billion. This takes the total aid (humanitarian, economic, and military) that the U.S. has sent Ukraine since the start of the war to some $50 billion.
More Weapons to Ukraine
Undoubtedly, the star of the latest (the 28th) package of security aid to Ukraine is the MIM-104 Patriot air defense weapon system, which will help Kyiv counter the Russian missile and drone attacks against its critical infrastructure and urban centers.
Here is the complete list of weapon systems included in the latest package worth $1.85 billion:
One MIM-104 Patriot air defense battery and munitions;
Additional ammunition for High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS);
500 precision-guided 155mm artillery rounds;
10 120mm mortar systems and 10,000 120mm mortar rounds;
10 82mm mortar systems;
10 60mm mortar systems;
37 Cougar Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) Vehicles;
120 High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles (HMMWVs);
Six armored utility trucks;
High-speed Anti-radiation missiles (HARMs);
Precision aerial munitions;
Over 2,700 grenade launchers and small arms;
Claymore anti-personnel munitions;
Demolition munitions and equipment;
Night vision devices and optics;
Tactical secure communications systems;
Body armor and other field equipment.
45,000 152mm artillery rounds;
20,000 122mm artillery rounds;
50,000 122mm GRAD rockets;
100,000 rounds of 125mm tank ammunition;
Satellite Communication terminals and services;
Funding for training, maintenance, and sustainment.
The Weapons Ukraine Hasn’t Received
However, the Ukrainians are still not getting what they have repeatedly asked for, namely MGM-140 Army Tactical Missile Systems (ATACMS), MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aerial vehicles, and fighter jets.
A surface-to-surface missile, the ATACMS can be fired by the M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) and M270 Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS), which have been proven so effective so far in the war. The ATACMS also has a range of almost 200 miles and could hit the Russian logistical functions that support the war deep behind the frontlines. The U.S. has sent Ukraine 20 M142 HIMARS and has contracted Lockheed Martin to manufacture a further 18 for Kyiv over the next few years.
However, the White House has repeatedly refused to provide these weapon systems to Ukraine out of fear that Kyiv would use them to strike targets within Russia, thus threatening to escalate the conflict. Moscow has stated that it would perceive the shipment of such weapon systems as escalatory.
The MQ-9 Reaper drone is capable of conducting intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) missions as well as precision strikes. Armed with the AGM-114 Hellfire missile, which has a range of approximately seven miles, the MQ-9 Reaper can take out targets with deadly precision. (But it is questionable how effective the drone would be in the contested airspace over Ukraine right now since neither side has managed to achieve air superiority.)
Lastly, Ukraine has repeatedly asked for fighter jets, including F-16 Fighting Falcons. The U.S. has again refused to directly provide these aircraft or allow other users to send them to Ukraine.
Expert Biography: A 19FortyFive Defense and National Security Columnist, Stavros Atlamazoglou is a seasoned defense journalist specializing in special operations, a Hellenic Army veteran (national service with the 575th Marine Battalion and Army HQ), and a Johns Hopkins University graduate. He is currently working towards a Master’s Degree in Strategy and Cybersecurity at the Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). His work has been featured in Business Insider, Sandboxx, and SOFREP.