Ukraine is on the counterattack. Over the past few weeks, the Ukrainian forces have been claiming victory after victory, liberating thousands of square miles in the process and destroying or capturing large quantities of Russian units and their weapon systems.
But to enable and sustain this operational push in the east and the south of the country, the Ukrainian military has been relying on the continuous support of the West, but mainly from the United States.
More than seven months into the war, and the U.S. continues to support the Ukrainian military with the weapon systems and ammunition it needs to fight off the Russian invasion. The latest package of security aid (22nd in total) is worth $625 million and contains some of Ukraine’s favorites.
The latest military aid package to Ukraine includes an additional four M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS), M777 155mm howitzers, and lots of ammunition.
Four High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) and associated ammunition;
16 155mm Howitzers;
75,000 155mm artillery rounds;
500 precision-guided 155mm artillery rounds—this refers to the M982 Excalibur precision-guided munition.
1,000 155mm rounds of Remote Anti-Armor Mine (RAAM) Systems;
16 105mm Howitzers;
30,000 120mm mortar rounds;
200 MaxxPro Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicles;
200,000 rounds of small arms ammunition;
Obstacle emplacement equipment;
Claymore anti-personnel munitions.
“Today, the Department of Defense (DoD) announces the authorization of a Presidential Drawdown of security assistance valued at up to $625 million to meet Ukraine’s critical security and defense needs. This authorization is the Biden Administration’s twenty-second drawdown of equipment from DoD inventories for Ukraine since August 2021,” the Department of Defense announced in a press release on Tuesday.
A few days ago, the U.S. approved the transfer of 20 M142 HIMARS to Ukraine. However, those weapon systems will be delivered over a period of two years.
Since January 2021, the U.S. has committed approximately $18 billion in security aid alone to Ukraine, and since the war began on February 24, the U.S. has sent or committed to sending close to $17 billion to Kyiv.
HIMARS and MLRS: The Game Changers
The M142 HIMARS and its heavier cousin, the M270 Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS), are undoubtedly the stars of the Ukrainian war.
The two weapon systems have truly tipped the scale in favor of the Ukrainian military through their ability to launch precision-guided munitions tens of miles behind enemy lines. The Ukrainian forces have used the two weapon systems, in addition to the hundreds of M-777 155mm Howitzers that the U.S. military has sent, to target and disrupt, degrade, and destroy the Russian lines of communication and supply in the south and the east.
HIMARS graphic from Lockheed Martin.
Fuel depots, ammunition dumps, command and control hubs, air defense positions, electronic warfare systems, and transportation nodes have all been the target of Ukrainian strikes since the middle of the summer. And now the Ukrainian forces are reaping the rewards by overcoming the battered Russian forces easily.