DOD announces $1.2B aid package for Ukraine, keying air defense systems

By Tony Bertuca / May 9, 2023 at 10:01 AM

The Defense Department today announced a new $1.2 billion security assistance package for Ukraine with money for air defense, artillery and ammunition.

The package, funded vial the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, will include:

  • Additional air defense systems and munitions;
  • Equipment to integrate Western air defense launchers, missiles and radars with Ukraine’s air defense systems;
  • Ammunition for counter-Unmanned Aerial Systems;
  • 155mm artillery rounds;
  • Commercial satellite imagery services;
  • Support for training, maintenance and sustainment activities.

Pentagon officials have said Ukraine’s air defense is a top priority, outranking other needs like fighter aircraft -- which the United States has not yet provided.

The new aid announcement did not specifically say which air defense systems would be provided but the United States has already sent a Patriot battery to Ukraine and trained Ukrainian soldiers to use it.

Ukraine over the weekend said it has used a U.S.-made Patriot air defense system to shoot down a Russian hypersonic missile over Kyiv. It has also been reported that Ukraine’s air defense systems recently shot down about 15 Russian cruise missiles headed for Kyiv.

Though presidential “drawdown” actions rapidly transfer weapons to Ukraine directly from U.S. stocks, weapons provided through the USAI, like those in this package, may take many months or several years to arrive on the battlefield.

“Unlike Presidential Drawdown authority (PDA), which DOD has continued to leverage to deliver equipment to Ukraine from DOD stocks at a historic pace, USAI is an authority under which the United States procures capabilities from industry or partners,” DOD said. “This announcement represents the beginning of a contracting process to provide additional priority capabilities to Ukraine."

The latest package, DOD said, “underscores the continued U.S. commitment to meeting Ukraine’s most urgent requirements by committing critical near-term capabilities, such as air defense systems and munitions, while also building the capacity of Ukraine’s Armed Forces to defend its territory and deter Russian aggression over the long term.”