Rockets, Artillery, and More: What’s in Biden’s $3 Billion Package to Ukraine

Rockets, Artillery, and More: What’s in Biden’s $3 Billion Package to Ukraine

The goal of the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative is to enable and support a strong multinational industrial base to produce new weapons specifically for Ukraine.

The Pentagon authorized the largest aid package for Ukraine thus far, authorizing nearly $3 billion in short and long-term military assistance. 

The package, authorized under the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI) and consisting of new provisions procured directly from industry partners to sustain long-term combat efforts, includes air defense systems, rocket systems, counter-artillery radars, and various types of ammunition.

Colin Kahl, undersecretary of defense for Policy, told reporters that “when we take things out of our own stocks, we're taking things out of our own stocks. And that puts certain constraints on what we can provide, on what timelines. When we do USAI, we are buying stuff on contract, and therefore the private sector can produce these things.” 

Kahl added that the “capabilities in this package are tailored to sustain Ukraine's most critical capability needs in the medium- to long-term.” 

Kahl announced that the package includes six National Advanced Surface to Air Missile Systems, up to 245,000 rounds of 155-millimeter artillery, twenty-four counter-artillery radars, and up to 65,000 rounds of 120-millimeter mortar ammunition. 

Interestingly, Kahl outlined a particular strategic element to the new package, explaining it was specifically intended to counter President Vladimir Putin’s apparent wish to “outlast” Ukrainian resistance. 

“His [Putin’s] theory of victory is that he can wait everybody out, he can wait the Ukrainians out because they will be exhausted and attrited, he can wait us out, because we'll turn our attention elsewhere. He can wait the Europeans out because of high energy prices, or whatever,” Kahl explained. 

The degree of international resolve to defeat Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, however, indicates an entirely different reality than what Putin may be wishing for. The collective outrage at Putin’s willingness to kill children and civilians, coupled with serious concerns about regional and global stability, has shored up a collective resolve to stop Russia over the long term. 

The goal of the USAI is to enable and support a strong multinational industrial base to produce new weapons, specifically for Ukraine. Perhaps the greatest significance of this, as explained by Kahl, is that this enables Ukraine to maintain, sustain, or even upgrade these weapons over the long term. This is why an ongoing rotation of training for Ukrainian weapons operators and military leaders will accompany the effort. 

“We hope that the USAI package helps to send a particular signal to Putin that he can’t just wait everybody out, and that, hopefully incentivizes Russia to stop the fighting and to get down to negotiations. But if it doesn’t, and the fighting continues, then the assistance continues to be relevant. If it does incentivize him to strike a deal, the assistance is still relevant, because Ukraine will have to hedge against the possibility that Russia could do this again,” Kahl said. 

Kris Osborn is the defense editor for the National Interest. Osborn previously served at the Pentagon as a Highly Qualified Expert with the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army—Acquisition, Logistics & Technology. Osborn has also worked as an anchor and on-air military specialist at national TV networks. He has appeared as a guest military expert on Fox News, MSNBC, The Military Channel, and The History Channel. He also has a Master’s Degree in Comparative Literature from Columbia University.

Image: Reuters.