By C. Todd Lopez
WASHINGTON (July 08, 2022) -- The U.S. is planning to provide more assistance to Ukraine with another presidential drawdown authority security package valued at $400 million. Included in this latest set of gear and supplies is something the U.S. has previously not sent to Ukraine: 1,000 rounds of 155 mm artillery billed as having greater precision.
"This is a new type [of] 155 mm artillery ammunition," said a senior defense official during a background briefing today at the Pentagon. "It has greater precision. It offers Ukraine precise ... capability for specific targets. It will save ammunition. It will be more effective due to the precision. It's a further evolution in our support for Ukraine in this battle in the Donbas."
The same official noted that the precision rounds, for use in howitzer artillery systems already in place in Ukraine, are something the U.S. military already uses and has in its own stock. The systems are new in that this is the first time the U.S. has sent them to Ukraine.
Also included in the latest package, are four additional High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems which will complement the eight already in place. There is also additional ammunition for those HIMARS systems, some tactical vehicles, demolition munitions, spare parts and other equipment.
The Russians illegally invaded Ukraine in February and the Ukrainians have been fighting since then to maintain their sovereignty. While it's not clear how much longer the fighting will continue, the senior defense official said what is clear is a commitment by the U.S. to continue helping Ukraine maintain their independence.
"From a security assistance perspective, this is a steady drumbeat now, and it is a long-term commitment to Ukraine," the official said. "We'll be ready for whatever the experts tell us is required for the battlefield."
The U.S., the official said, has been providing training to the Ukrainians since 2015. Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the U.S. has provided, among other things, Stinger anti-aircraft systems, Javelin anti-armor systems, Switchblade unmanned aircraft system, howitzer artillery systems and rounds, helicopters, tactical vehicles, ammunition, radar systems, HIMARS, body armor, helmets and Harpoon launch systems for coastal defense.