M777 155 mm lightweight towed howitzer
M777 155 mm lightweight towed howitzer

President Joe Biden Announces $800 million in Additional Security Assistance for Ukraine

President Joe Biden announced Thursday the U.S. will provide another round of security assistance to Ukraine worth roughly $800 million. The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) announces the authorization of a Presidential Drawdown of security assistance valued at up to an additional $800 million tailored to meet critical Ukrainian needs for today’s fight as Russian forces launch a renewed large-scale offensive to take control of Ukraine’s east. This authorization is the eighth drawdown of equipment from DoD inventories for Ukraine since August 2021. The equipment will “further augment Ukraine’s ability to fight in the east in the Donbas region.

“We won’t always be able to advertise everything that our partners are doing to support Ukraine in its fight for freedom, but to modernize Teddy Roosevelt’s famous advice, sometimes we will speak softly and carry a large Javelin, because we’re sending a lot of those in as well. But we’re not sitting on the funding that Congress has provided for Ukraine. We’re sending it directly to the front lines of freedom to the fear less and skilled Ukrainian fighters who are standing in the breach,” President Joe Biden said.

M198 155 mm medium-sized towed howitzer

The DoD said the package includes 72 155mm howitzers, 144,000 artillery rounds, 72 tactical vehicles to tow the howitzers and 121 unmanned aerial vehicle systems, known as “Phoenix Ghost” drones. This commitment, together with the 18 155mm howitzers announced on April 13, provides enough artillery systems to equip five battalions. The United States has now committed more than $4 billion in security assistance to Ukraine since the beginning of the Biden Administration, including approximately $3.4 billion since the beginning of Russia’s unprovoked invasion on February 24.

The US has not specified which variant, or variants, of the 155mm Howitzer it is providing. But the M777 and M198 models are both towed by a vehicle. The M777 has a maximum range of 19 miles (30 kilometers), depending on the type of round, while the M198 has the same range, but is about 7,000 pounds heavier. Phoenix Ghost drones were expedited specifically to aid the fight against Russia. The drones are what are known as loitering munitions, or suicide drones, which target a vehicle or personnel and ram into them with attached explosives. The unmanned aerial vehicles built by AEVEX Aerospace were rapidly developed by the U.S. Air Force.