DOD to send Ukraine 580 'Phoenix Ghost' drones

By Tony Bertuca / July 22, 2022 at 4:01 PM

The United States is sending a $270 million military aid package to Ukraine that includes four additional High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems and up to 580 additional Phoenix Ghost tactical drones, which have loitering munition capabilities similar to Switchblade unmanned aerial systems.

The HIMARS transfers were announced earlier this week.

A senior defense official told reporters today the new weapons package -- which also includes ammunition, four command post vehicles and anti-armor weapons -- will be “useful on the battlefield immediately.”

The official said the Ukrainian army has proved adept at using the HIMARS and Phoenix Ghost to target key Russian military targets.

The package is divided into two pieces: $175 million in presidential “drawdown” authority, which mostly covers the transfer of U.S. HIMARS to Ukraine, and $95 million in Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative funds, which allows the Pentagon to contract directly with industry to purchase the Phoenix Ghost.

The Pentagon, meanwhile, has declined to provide details on the capabilities of the Phoenix Ghost, which is manufactured by Solana Beach, CA-based Aevex Aerospace. The official said "steady deliveries" of the drone will begin in August. More than 120 of the drones were first sent to Ukraine in April.

More than $8 billion in security assistance has been provided to Ukraine since the start of the Biden administration, according to the Pentagon.

“We’re not going to stop there,” said the defense official, referencing plans to continue evaluating what kind of weapons can be sent to Ukraine.