Five Facts on New US Military Aid to Ukraine

The Big InsightAlthough the lethal aid provided by the U.S. and its allies to Ukraine has been particularly effective in combating Russian aggression, the Ukrainian government maintains that it still needs access to larger and more powerful weaponry.

President Biden in March announced an additional $800 million in military aid to Ukraine, on top of the $650 million provided in 2021. Overall, NATO allies have provided nearly $2 billion in military support to Ukraine since the start of the conflict — a significant boost, since Ukraine spent just $6 billion on its military last year.

1. The U.S. has transferred an additional 800 Stinger anti-aircraft systems to Ukraine — far fewer than President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says he needs.

The FIM-92A Stinger is a portable, heat-seeking, shoulder-fired surface-to-air missile manufactured by Raytheon that can target aircraft flying as high as 10,000 feet off the ground. In all, NATO nations have sent more than 2,000 Stingers to Ukraine since the start of the war, but Ukrainian officials have said they need at least 500 new Stingers per day.

2. The new U.S. arms transfers to Ukraine include 2,000 Javelin anti-armor missiles.

The FGM-148 Javelin, also a shoulder-fired system, can be fired from within buildings or bunkers and can target any heat-emitting vehicle, which has made it particularly effective in combating Russian tanks. Javelins reportedly destroyed more than 280 Russian armored vehicles out of about 300 targeted in the first weeks of the war.

3. The U.S. has allocated 6,000 AT-4 anti-armor systems.

The AT-4 is a Swedish-designed portable anti-tank weapon that the U.S. has used in Afghanistan and Iraq. While it can rarely destroy modern tanks, it is a light and easy-to-use weapon that can slow or debilitate oncoming armored vehicles. The deployment is intended to be used to defend Ukraine’s cities in urban combat.

4. The U.S. is providing Ukraine with 100 Tactical Unmanned Aerial Systems.

The Switchblade “suicide drone” is launched from a tube, flies to its target, and crashes into it, detonating its explosive. It can carry a warhead capable of destroying a tank, and can also be rerouted in-flight to a secondary target if needed. According to Politico, “the inclusion of the ‘tactical’ drones…represents a new phase of weaponry being sent to Ukraine by the U.S.”

5. Ukraine has requested S-300 missile defense systems and MiG-29 fighter jets, but NATO has yet to agree.

In addition to asking for more Stingers, Ukraine is seeking S-300 surface-to-air missile systems, which have a greater range in altitude and distance than Stingers. While Slovakia has preliminarily agreed to send S-300s, the U.S. and NATO are concerned about the impact on Slovakia’s own defenses. The U.S. has also resisted calls to send MiGs from Poland to Ukraine, wary of the risk of broadening the conflict.

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