Pentagon sending Excalibur guided artillery, more HIMARS to Ukraine

WASHINGTON ― The Pentagon said Tuesday it’s arming Ukraine with Excalibur satellite-guided artillery rounds and four more High-Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems to help repel Russia’s invasion force.

The $625 million in weapons and equipment, provided from U.S. military stockpiles under presidential drawdown authority, comes amid battlefield wins for Ukrainian forces. The U.S. Department of Defense also is contracting with industry for the supplies.

“The capabilities in this package are tailored to meet Ukraine’s immediate needs,” Laura Cooper, deputy assistant secretary of defense for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia, said at a Pentagon press conference. “This package will provide the Ukrainian armed forces with additional capabilities and munitions that it needs to maintain momentum in the east, and in the south, including additional artillery and precision fires.”

Ukrainian forces who recently retook Lyman achieved a “significant operational accomplishment,” Cooper said, adding that Ukrainian forces are making progress in the Kharkiv and southern Kherson regions.

“The Ukrainian counter offensive and Kherson has made significant advances over the last 24 hours, and Ukrainian forces continue to liberate villages as they press forward,” Cooper said.

The latest announcement includes Lockheed Martin-made HIMARS and associated ammunition, which Ukraine has used to successfully target Russian supplies and command nodes, along with 200 MaxxPro Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles, Claymore anti-personnel mines and 155mm and 105mm Howitzers.

With the new aid, the U.S. has committed more than $17.5 billion in aid to Ukraine since the Biden administration began.

The latest drawdown includes 75,000 more 155mm rounds, 1,000 more Remote Anti-Armor Mine projectiles that dispense anti-tank mines and, 500 more satellite-guided M982 Excalibur rounds, Cooper said.

“Yes, when I refer to ‘500 precision guided 155mm artillery rounds,’ that was a reference to the Excalibur round,” Cooper said.

Pentagon officials had avoided publicly acknowledging it’s been sending Excalibur rounds, co-developed by Raytheon Missiles and Defense and BAE Systems Bofor, of Sweden. Bloomberg first reported that Pentagon plans to replenish Excaliburs sent to Ukraine were included in a public budget document.

The U.S. is also sending MRAPs as the ability to maneuver will be important to Ukraine’s ability to retake ground, and particularly during the coming winter months. MRAP light tactical vehicles were developed by the U.S. military to protect its troops from roadside bombs in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“The weather plays a big factor in any war, and here what we would anticipate is, as the as the weather changes, maneuver will be much more challenging,” Cooper said.