A new $1.1 billion weapons package will more than double the number of HIMARS Ukraine has to hammer key Russian positions

M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS)
This is a US-made M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS), a weapon that Ukraine has been using to great effect against Russian forces.US Air Force photo by Senior Airman Beaux Hebert
  • A new $1.1 billion US weapons package will more than double the amount of HIMARS Ukraine has.

  • Right now, Kyiv has 16 HIMARS in its arsenal and has used them effectively to strike key Russian positions.

  • The new US military aid package will see 18 more HIMARS delivered to Ukraine, among other capabilities.

A new $1.1 billion US security assistance package will more than double the number of High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS)  Ukraine currently has on the battlefield.

The Pentagon announced on Wednesday that the new weapons package includes 18 US-made M142 HIMARS and the associated ammunition.

These rocket artillery systems are long-range, high-precision rocket launchers that can strike targets 50 miles away. The Ukrainian armed forces have been able to effectively use the 16 HIMARS currently in its arsenal to pummel key Russian positions, such as logistics and command centers, in recent months.

HIMARS are lightweight, truck-mounted multiple rocket systems that can fire six GPS-guided missiles before quickly relocating to another position.

In June, Ukraine celebrated the arrival of the much-anticipated HIMARS, and it has since hailed the weapons as a game-changer in its seven-month-long war against Russian forces. Over the summer, Ukraine used HIMARS to strike Russian targets like ammunition depots, command posts, personnel, and even strategic infrastructure like bridges, leading military experts to praise their effectiveness.

In addition to the HIMARS, the substantial weapons package also includes 150 Armored High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles, or Humvees, 150 tactical towing vehicles, 80 trailers and 40 trucks to transport equipment, two radars for Unmanned Aerial Systems, drone detection and surveillance systems, equipment for explosive ordnance disposal, body armor, and other field gear.

High-Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS ) is in operation during military exercises at Spilve Airport in Riga, Latvia, Monday, Sept. 26, 2022.
High-Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS ) is in operation during military exercises at Spilve Airport in Riga, Latvia, Monday, Sept. 26, 2022.AP Photo/Roman Koksarov

This new military aid falls under the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, which funds the purchase of new weapons over the long term, instead of Presidential Drawdown Authority, which has been used in the past and quickly pulls from existing Pentagon stockpiles. It is unclear how long it will take for the HIMARS and other systems to be delivered.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy welcomed the announcement on Wednesday, calling it a "very timely decision showing that Russian blackmail does not work. Gratitude to [President Joe Biden] & all our [American] friends!"

A Pentagon official told Insider that the US has now committed over $16.2 billion in security assistance for Ukraine since Russian forces invaded in late February. Among these aid packages was a massive $3 billion weapons bundle in late August, which marked the largest single collection of military aid of the war to date. 

Wednesday's announcement comes as Ukrainian forces continue to push a counteroffensive along the war's eastern and southern fronts, making advances which, since the start of September, have liberated thousands of square miles of territory that was previously under Russian occupation.

In a move that appeared to be triggered by weeks of battlefield setbacks, Russian President Vladimir Putin last week announced the partial military mobilization of his country's reservists. Desperate to avoid being sent to war in Ukraine, which has left tens of thousands dead, many Russians have attempted to flee the country in any way they can.

Read the original article on Business Insider