U.S. sending mine-resistant vehicles, more artillery to Ukraine

By Tony Bertuca / August 19, 2022 at 12:28 PM

The United States is sending dozens of Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles to Ukraine, along with additional drones, artillery, ammunition and other weapons as part of an upcoming $775 million military aid package, according to a senior defense official.

The official, who spoke to reporters today on the condition of anonymity, said the 40 MaxxPro MRAPs being provided to Ukraine through presidential drawdown authority will be the first time the vehicle has been provided to Ukraine since the start of the ongoing Russian invasion.

The official said the MRAPs are being provided along with “mine-clearing equipment and systems.”

“We know that Russia has heavily mined areas,” the official said. “This is going to give the Ukrainians a resilient capability for transporting troops in this challenging terrain.”

The United States initially procured MRAPs in massive numbers during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars to mitigate improvised explosive devices.

The mine-clearing systems and MRAPs, the official said, are good examples of capabilities the Ukrainians are seeking that could perhaps “push their forces forward and re-rake territory” as fighting in the southern part of the country remains at a brutal stalemate.

The new aid, which follows a $1 billion package announced on Aug. 8, will also include additional ammunition for the High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems already provided by the United States.

The HIMARS, the official said, has “really changed the dynamic on the battlefield” and the United States is prepared to provide a “steady stream of ammunition” to replenish the Ukrainian military.

Ukraine, the official said, is “employing HIMARS masterfully on the battlefield.”

Additionally, the United States will be providing additional high-speed, anti-radiation missiles intended to “seek and destroy Russian radars,” the official said, noting the Ukrainians have been able to “successfully integrate” HARM missiles with existing Mig-29 aircraft.

The U.S. government is also sending 16 105 mm howitzers and 15 Scan Eagle small unmanned aircraft systems intended to provide the Ukrainians with better battlefield reconnaissance and targeting.

The official said the aid package will also include 50 humvees, 1,000 Javelin anti-armor systems, 2,000 anti-armor rounds, and 1,500 tube-launched, optically tracked, wire-guided missiles.

Other items in the package include tactical communications, night vision systems, thermal imaging systems and laser rangefinders.

The official said the United States has committed more than $10 billion in military aid to Ukraine since August 2021.

“This isn't the end,” the official said. “We will continue to consult with the Ukrainians to make sure we are providing them with what they need when they need it.”