The Defense Department has announced a new $820 million military aid package for Ukraine to defend itself against an ongoing Russian invasion, including two National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems from Norway and additional ammunition for High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems that have already been sent from the United States.
The package is composed of $770 million in Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative funds, which allows DOD to award money directly to contractors to provide weapons for Ukraine, and $50 million in presidential “drawdown authority,” which allows for the transfer of weapons from U.S. stocks.
Along with the two NASAMS designed and developed jointly by Raytheon and Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace for the Norwegian Air Force, the USAI funds will also cover up to 150,000 rounds of 155 mm artillery ammunition, and four additional counter-artillery radars.
A senior defense official told reporters the NASAMS is used to protect the airspace above Washington D.C.
“This system, co-produced by Norway and the U.S., is a NATO system, so for us it’s important to start to help the Ukrainians transition their air defense systems from what is a now a Soviet-type system, to introduce some of this modern technology,” the official said.
The Pentagon said it wanted to recognize “Norway’s cooperation to enable the historic provision by the United States of modern air defense systems that will help Ukraine defend against Russia’s brutal air attacks.”
“Unlike Presidential Drawdown, USAI is an authority under which the United States procures capabilities from industry rather than delivering equipment that is drawn down from DOD stocks,” DOD said. “This announcement represents the beginning of a contracting process to provide additional capabilities to Ukraine's Armed Forces.”
The drawdown, which is the 14th such transfer from U.S. stocks since August 2021, includes funds to pay for additional HIMARS ammunition.
Meanwhile, DOD said the United States has now committed approximately $7.6 billion in security assistance to Ukraine since the beginning of the Biden administration, including approximately $6.9 billion since the beginning of the ongoing Russian invasion.
“The United States continues to work with its Allies and partners to provide Ukraine with capabilities to meet its evolving battlefield requirements,” DOD said.