The United States will provide an additional $800 million worth of military aid package to support Ukraine in its fight against Russian invaders.
The new aid package should expand the range of Ukrainian air capabilities as it will include helicopters and loitering munitions.
The US Department of Defense (DOD) announced that it will supply Ukraine with newly authorized equipment and supplies, including AN/MPQ-64 Sentinel air surveillance radar systems as well as 11 Mi-17 helicopters and 300 Switchblade drones. However, Ukrainian forces will have to undergo specific training before the Switchblade drones can be used.
“We took advantage of some of the Ukrainians that were in the United States for some previously scheduled training to get them trained up on Switchblades,” the press secretary of Pentagon, John F. Kirby, was quoted in the official statement dated April 13, 2022.
Kirby continued: “We are looking at options for additional Switchblade training and where and when that might occur and how we would do that. And certainly, one option that would be available to us would be to utilize troops that are closer to Ukraine, obviously troops that are on NATO’s eastern flank.”
In addition to the helicopters and Switchblades, the US will also provide the Ukrainian military with 500 Raytheon/Lockheed Martin FGM-148 Javelin anti-tank missiles as well as unmanned vessels for coast defense, howitzers, and armored personnel carriers.
According to Kirby, this recent authorization comes as the seventh drawdown of equipment from DOD inventories for Ukraine forces since August 2021. Since the beginning of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022, the US has already provided $2.6 billion worth of security assistance.
The delivery of military equipment should be completed by mid-April 2022.