By Ellen Mitchell The Hill.com
The United States will give Ukraine 18 more advanced rocket systems as part of a new $1.1 billion military aid package to the country, Pentagon officials announced Wednesday.
he additional High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) will be given under the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI), meaning they won’t come from pre-existing U.S. weapons stocks and instead will be newly manufactured and sent to Kyiv once finished.
Such a delivery method allows the U.S. government to plan out weapons shipments in the mid- and long-term while keeping U.S. stocks from being too quickly depleted. “This USAI package underscores the U.S. commitment to supporting Ukraine over the long term,” a senior defense official told reporters.
“It represents a multi-year investment in critical capabilities to build the enduring strength of Ukraine’s armed forces as it continues to defend Ukraine’s sovereignty in the face of Russian aggression.” The package, which brings U.S. security assistance committed to Ukraine to more than $16.2 billion since February, also includes HIMARS-associated ammunitions, 150 Armored High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles and 40 trucks and 80 trailers to help Ukrainian troops transport heavy equipment.
Additional radars for drones, communication and surveillance systems, mine and bomb disposal equipment, body armor and field equipment are also included. The Pentagon expects most of the capabilities in the package to be delivered to Ukraine in six to 24 months.
The Biden administration first sent HIMARS to Ukraine in June, giving its forces the ability to strike targets about 50 miles away. The systems have been crucial in helping Kyiv fight back against Moscow.