In this 2020 photo illustration, Marines with U.S. Marine Corps Forces Cyberspace Command are seen in an operations center at Lasswell Hall at Fort Meade, Maryland.

US to send anti-drone machine guns, air defense ammunition to Ukraine

WASHINGTON — The Pentagon said it will send Ukraine up to $400 million in artillery ammunition, weapons and supplies in its latest drawdown package to help the nation defend itself against Russia.

The security assistance package announced Wednesday includes more ammunition for High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, or HIMARS, high-speed anti-radiation missiles, or HARMs, and 200 precision-guided 155mm artillery rounds, the U.S. Department of Defense said in a statement.

It also includes 150 heavy machine guns with thermal imagery sights that Ukraine could use to shoot down Russian drones, the Pentagon said, as well as 10,000 120mm mortar rounds and additional munitions for National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems, or NASAMS, air defense systems developed by Norway’s Kongsberg Defence and Aerospace and U.S. firm Raytheon Technologies.

“With Russia’s unrelenting and brutal missile and [unmanned aerial systems] attacks on Ukrainian critical energy infrastructure, additional air defense capabilities remain an urgent priority,” the Pentagon said. “The additional munitions for NASAMS and heavy machine guns will help Ukraine counter these urgent threats.”

The package also includes 150 Humvees, more than 100 light tactical vehicles, more than 200 generators, spare parts for 105mm Howitzers and other equipment and more than 20 million rounds of small arms ammunition.

This drawdown will be the U.S. military’s 26th for Ukraine since August 2021. The Pentagon said the U.S. has provided about $22 billion in security assistance to Ukraine since 2014, with more than $19 billion of that coming since Russia invaded the country in February.

Stephen Losey is the air warfare reporter for Defense News. He previously covered leadership and personnel issues at Air Force Times, and the Pentagon, special operations and air warfare at Military.com. He has traveled to the Middle East to cover U.S. Air Force operations.

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