A Look At Biden’s Latest $2.6 Billion Ukraine Aid Package – The U.S. Department of Defense announced the latest round of aid for Ukraine on Tuesday. The newest round of security assistance is worth $2.6 billion in total and is split into two.
What is Ukraine Getting?
In a statement released on Monday, the Department of Defense announced a $500 million aid package aimed at bolstering Ukraine’s military capabilities with a range of military equipment, ammunition, and support vehicles.
Included in the package are additional munitions for Patriot air defense systems, as well as extra ammunition for High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems. 155 mm and 105 mm artillery rounds are also part of the package, along with 120mm mortar rounds.
The package also contains tank ammunition, including 120 mm and 105 mm rounds, as well as 25mm ammunition. Furthermore, the package includes tube-launched, optically-tracked, wire-guided missiles, 400 grenade launchers, and 200,000 rounds of ammunition.
To support equipment recovery efforts, Ukraine will also receive 11 tactical vehicles. Additionally, the aid package includes 61 heavy fuel tankers, 10 heavy equipment transport trucks, and 10 trailers. Testing and diagnostic equipment to support vehicle maintenance and repair, as well as spare parts and other field equipment, will also be delivered to Ukraine.
An additional package worth $2.1 billion also includes weapons, equipment, and radar systems. The Department of Defense announced that the secondary package will be paid for by Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative Funds, meaning that all items within the package will be procured from industry, rather than drawing down from U.S. military stocks. The additional package will focus on providing munitions for NASAMS surface-to-air missile systems, surveillance radars, anti-aircraft ammunition, laser-guided rocket systems, and nine counter-unmanned gun trucks. The second package also includes additional tactical vehicles, logistic support vehicles, armored bridging systems, satellite communications terminals, and secure communications equipment.
Meet the Experimental Weapons the U.S. Is Sending to Ukraine
As part of a new $2.6 billion Ukraine aid package, Ukraine will also receive 10 experimental weapons designed to counter Iranian Shahed kamikaze drones used by Russian forces in Ukraine. In a statement, the Department of Defense confirmed that 10 mobile c-UAS laser-guided rocket systems will be delivered to Ukraine soon.
The weapon is the result of a competition held by the United States Army in January, with weapons manufacturers tasked with creating a cost-effective way of taking out Iranian suicide drones. Shahed drones represent a significant threat to Ukrainian forces, with the droners proving capable at causing significant damage to Ukrainian positions on the battlefield, military equipment, and civilian infrastructure. While Ukrainian troops have the anti-air defense systems necessary to take down the drones, it comes at a huge cost.
In some instances, Ukrainian forces have resorted to using air-defense missiles worth half a million dollars to take out drones worth roughly $20,000.
The U.S. Army requested that participants in the competition create a weapon that can easily take down Class Three drones, with four specific requirements. According to official documents, winning designs must be delivered between 30 to 90 days of the contract being awarded, manufacturers must be able to export production articles to allied nations within 30 to 90 days, and the final product must also provide command and control (C2) functionality to tie detect/track to defeat.
The weapons must also have a probability of detection/defeat of Group 3 sUAS “at distances equal to or greater than 2 kilometers slant range.”
The winning design from SAIC reportedly comes after the company used APKWS laser-guided rockets from APKWS to create a weapon capable of achieving a 100% hit rate in tests.
According to Greg Fortier from SAIC’s Army Business team, the rockets cost less than $30,000 each, making them a much more affordable way for Ukrainian troops to take out Iranian drones on the battlefield and even in urban areas. The winning design also reportedly features an M240 machine gun mount as well as an electronic warfare system that is capable of controlling commercial DJI drones, commonly used by both Ukrainian and Russian forces.
A New Counteroffensive On the Way?
Speaking to reporters this week, a U.S. defense official said that the latest package is designed to assist Ukrainian forces in changing the “dynamic on the ground.”
“We want to help Ukraine advance and hold its positions in what we expect will be a Ukrainian counteroffensive,” the official also said.
Russia appears to be expecting a new counteroffensive, with the Ukrainian General Staff reporting on Tuesday how Russian forces have refrained from launching new offensive operations in the Zaporizhzhia and Kherson directions. Instead, Russian troops are reportedly focusing on improving their defenses in the regions.
Jack Buckby is 19FortyFive’s Breaking News Editor. He is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.