War in Ukraine

What’s Inside the New $150 Million US Military Aid Package for Ukraine?

What’s Inside the New $150 Million US Military Aid Package for Ukraine?

We take a closer look at what’s inside the new aid package, what the capabilities of these weapons are, and how much they cost. 

On July 3rd 2024, the White House announced it will provide a new 150 million dollar security assistance package for Ukraine. The assistance will come in the form of weapons from the United States’ own stockpile using presidential drawdown authorities which allow the US Defense Department to take from its own supplies and give to foreign countries in the event of emergency. It is the seventh security assistance package President Biden has authorized since April. 

The package will include ammunition for high-mobility artillery rocket systems (HIMARS), artillery rounds, and other critical capabilities. It also includes funding that the Department of Defense will use to purchase interceptors for Patriot and NASAMS air defense systems.

The White House acknowledged that military aid to Ukraine over recent months has been critical to its ability to defend itself from Russia’s aerial attacks. The Press Secretary stated that the Russian offensive on Kharkiv launched in May had been a failure, in part due to the continued supply of weapons from Ukraine’s Western allies after a winter in which Ukraine found its stockpiles nearly depleted due to stalls in aid. 

Thanks to the bravery of the Ukrainian forces and weapons deliveries from the United States and our allies and partners, it is increasingly clear the Russian offensive around Kharkiv has been a failure.

Karine Jean Pierre

White House Press Secretary 

The aid package is a precursor to a larger 2.2 billion dollar aid package that US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin discussed in a press conference on July 2nd. The contents of the multi-billion dollar package will include interceptors for Patriot and NASAMS air defense systems. The DoD will use funding from the July 3rd aid package to purchase the interceptors. Further details on the 2.2 billion dollar aid package have yet to be announced. 

In the meantime, we take a look at the 150 million package that will restock munitions of Ukraine’s most-used weapons: 

Artillery rounds 155mm 

What Is It? Adopted as the NATO standard caliber after World War 2, the 155mm artillery round is by far the most used artillery round by Ukrainian forces. Military officials claim that Ukraine needs 200,000 artillery shells per month to continue the war. Experts say the shell is a perfect balance of range, warhead size, and potential to damage targets. 

How Does it Work? The shells are typically fired from mobile or self-propelled Howitzers. 

Capabilities: Shells can cover a distance of approximately 15 miles. They weigh roughly 100 pounds and can travel at speeds of up to 1 mile per second. Shells are especially useful in situations like Ukraine’s, where enemy engagements occur at relatively close proximity (trench warfare). 

Price: Historically, 155mm artillery rounds have cost $2-3,000; however, according to NATO officials, because of shortages due to the war in Ukraine, as well as the Israel-Gaza conflict, the price has shot up to nearly $8,400 per shell. 

Ammunition for High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS)

What Is It?: Imagine a car that could run on diesel, petrol, or electricity, that’s HIMARS. Developed by Lockheed Martin in 1996 the rocket system is extremely versatile and effective in engaging and defeating enemy artillery, air defense concentrations, trucks, and light armor personnel carriers. It was primarily used by U.S. troops in Iraq. The ammunition for HIMARS can vary from mid-range artillery to long-range ATACMS. The White House did not specify which kind of ammunition it would send, though lately, there has been much discussion regarding how Ukraine may use the long-range ATACMS it receives from its Western ally.

How Does it Work? The launch system, set on a wheeled chassis, fires its ammunition and moves away from the launch area at high speed before its position can be located by the enemy. 

Capabilities: Depending on the type of ammunition provided, HIMARS-launched missiles can hit targets as far as 190 miles away at speeds of up to Mach 3 (2,223.3 mph). 

Price: Ultimately, it depends on what ammunition the U.S. will provide. ATACMS cost 1.5 million per missile. 

Funds from the 150 million dollars in military assistance announced on July 3rd will be used by the Department of Defense to purchase interceptors for Patriot and NASAMS missile systems. Once received, the interceptors will be sent to Ukraine as part of a subsequent 2.2 billion dollar aid package, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said on July 2nd. 

Interceptors for Patriot Missiles Systems (PAC-2/ PAC-3)

What Is It? While Ukraine’s S-300 air defense system is proficient in intercepting slow-moving targets like drones and cruise missiles, the Patriot System excels in intercepting faster-moving targets like Russia’s ballistic and hypersonic missiles. In addition to protecting Ukraine's cities and infrastructure, the Patriot System can provide air cover to troops as they retake Ukraine’s territory. 

How Does it Work? Patriot systems consist of three components: radar, control station, and launching station. If the radar detects a missile, the control station signals to the launching station to release one of the 16 missiles in its ‘barrel.’ A single Patriot system takes nearly 90 soldiers to operate, though the control station can be operated by just 3 soldiers in the field.  

Capabilities: Patriot systems radar can detect threats up to 100+ miles away. It uses Pac-2 and Pac-3 missiles, which are considered long-range and can strike targets 40-60 miles away. It can intercept missiles traveling at hypersonic speeds up to 25x the speed of sound. 

Price: 4.1 million per missile. 

Interceptors for NASAMS Missile Systems

What Is It? The NASAM Missile System is a short to medium-range ground-based air defense system. It was developed by Norway and US Defense Contractor Raytheon in the 90’s. The system is unique because it takes missiles that would normally be launched from F16 fighter jets and instead fires them from a ground-based system

How Does it Work? One NASAM system has 3 launchers, with each launcher carrying six missiles. The system comes equipped with radar that can detect enemy aircraft at a 60-mile range. AMRAM missiles are typically used, though the system can fire a variety of missiles.

Capabilities: NASAMS can be integrated with Patriot Systems and can intercept 72 targets simultaneously. Depending on which missile the U.S. will send, whether it be AMRAM’s or a different kind, the typical range spans from 5-30 miles. 

Price: A single AMRAM missile costs an estimated $386,000.

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