(Editor's note: This story has been updated with remarks from a senior defense official.)
The United States has announced a $1.8 billion military aid package for Ukraine, including the first-ever transfer to Ukraine of the Patriot air and missile defense system and Joint Direct Attack Munitions, which will provide enhanced precision strike capabilities against invading Russian military forces.
The announcement was made in advance of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s planned visit to Washington on Wednesday.
The Patriot system is capable of shooting down cruise missiles, short-range ballistic missiles and aircraft at higher altitudes that previously provided systems.
A senior defense official who briefed reporters after the announcement, however, said it would take months of training before Ukrainians are ready to use the Patriot system.
“It is a several-month training process and we're working through the details of the training right now,” the official said, declining to provide a location for the training.
The official also stressed the Patriot system being transferred will not be connected to NATO’s military infrastructure in any way.
“It will be a system for Ukraine to operate on its own,” the official said. “This is not a NATO-operated system.”
The State Department said the funding includes $1 billion in U.S. arms that will be directly transferred to Ukraine via presidential “drawdown” authority, and $850 million in arms that will be provided by working directly with defense contractors under the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative.
The $1 billion PDA funding includes:
• one Patriot air defense battery and munitions;
• additional ammunition for High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems;
• 500 precision-guided 155mm artillery rounds;
• 10 120mm mortar systems and 10,000 120mm mortar rounds;
• 10 82mm mortar systems;
• 10 60mm mortar systems;
• 37 Cougar Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles;
• 120 humvees;
• six armored utility trucks;
• high-speed anti-radiation missiles;
• precision aerial munitions;
• over 2,700 grenade launchers and small arms;
• claymore anti-personnel munitions;
• demolition munitions and equipment;
• night vision devices and optics;
• tactical secure communications systems;
• body armor
The $850 million USAI package, which will not arrive in Ukraine as rapidly as the PDA equipment, includes:
• 45,000 152mm artillery rounds;
• 20,000 122mm artillery rounds;
• 50,000 122mm GRAD rockets;
• 100,000 rounds of 125mm tank ammunition;
• satellite communication terminals and services;
• funding for training, maintenance, and sustainment.
The United States has committed approximately $21.3 billion since Russia began its invasion of Ukraine
Meanwhile, Congress is set to vote on a massive fiscal year 2023 omnibus appropriations bill that includes $45 billion in additional emergency supplemental funding related to the U.S. response to the war Ukraine.