Washington, Feb 4 – The administration of US President Joe Biden has announced an additional round of security assistance for Ukraine with a total value of $2.2 billion.
The latest package was divided into two parts – $425 million through the Presidential Drawdown Authority, and $1.75 billion from the congressionally-approved Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, Xinhua news agency reported, citing a statement from the Defense Department.
What’s particularly noticeable in the materiel are long-range rockets for High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems or HIMARS missile launchers that the United States have provided for Ukraine.
The new rockets are GPS-guided Ground-Launched Small Diameter Bombs (GLSDB) with a range of roughly 90 miles, more than doubling the 40-mile range that previous US-provided HIMARS-compatible missiles have.
The GLSDB’s range, however, falls short compared to that of the Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS), which has long been sought by Ukraine but refused by the US for fear of escalation of the Russia-Ukraine war. The ATACMS has a range of nearly 200 miles.
The US government will contract with weapons manufacturers to provide the GLSDB, as well as two HAWK air defence firing units and unspecified “equipment to integrate Western air defence launchers, missiles, and radars with Ukraine’s air defence systems”. That means it will be months away from the actual delivery of these weapons.
The US has committed more than $29.3 billion in security assistance for Ukraine since the Russia-Ukraine conflict broke out nearly a year ago, according to the Pentagon’s statement.