Ukraine getting additional weapons from US to help combat Russian warships

The US Defense Department has announced an additional $1 billion in security assistance to Ukraine, which will include Harpoon coastal defense systems, more 155-millimeter howitzers, and more ammunition for the high mobility artillery rocket system (HIMARS). 

This latest package of security assistance comes in two forms. First is a presidential drawdown authority, or PDA. 

According to a fact sheet published on the Defense Department website, about $350 million of the $1 billion announced comes from the presidential drawdown authority.

A “drawdown,” according to the documentation available from the Defense Security Cooperation Agency, allows the president in certain circumstances to withdraw existing weapons, ammunitions and material from existing US military stocks and provide that to other nations.  

This drawdown includes 18 155-millimeter howitzers, 36,000 rounds of 155-millimeter ammunition, 18 tactical vehicles, additional ammunition for High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, four additional tactical vehicles and spare parts and other equipment. 

Other support comes from the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, or USAI. One defense official said this is an authority the department has been using to support Ukraine since 2015, when Russia first invaded Crimea and Eastern Ukraine. 

Support under USAI differs from that provided as part of PDA in that it must be purchased or contracted rather than being pulled from existing military inventory, the official said. 

Of the $1 billion announced, $650 million is made up of USAI.

This includes two Harpoon coastal defense systems; thousands of secure radios; thousands of night vision devices, thermal sights and other optics.

It also includes funding for training, maintenance, sustainment, transportation and administrative costs. 

“It enables the department to make direct purchases of equipment as well as contract for training and maintenance and sustainment, including in support of equipment provided through presidential drawdown,” the official said.

“The USAI programs, in addition to meeting Ukraine’s shorter-term needs, also help ensure Ukraine’s enduring strength by providing for procurement and training of Ukrainian forces on NATO standard equipment.” 

Since the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine,the US has provided approximately $5.6 billion in security assistance support.