18 new HIMARS delivery to Ukraine will take a few years — Pentagon
The latest US military aid package includes a lot of critical equipment, including 18 new HIMARS systems
A high-ranking representative of the Pentagon stated this during a briefing, EP reports.
However, as noted by the US Department of Defense, part of it, including the new HIMARS, is aimed at supporting the defense needs of Ukraine in the long term.
The Pentagon said the latest aid package includes 18 highly mobile artillery rocket systems and the corresponding ammunition.
As part of USAI, the United States will purchase those systems from the manufacturer to provide them to Ukraine.
They will not be pulled directly from the US military inventory, as was done previously with the 16 HIMARS missile systems sent to Ukraine.
According to a senior US Department of Defense official, the arrival of the last HIMARS promised to Ukraine may take some time.
"The procurement and delivery of these HIMARS systems and associated ammunition will take a few years. Today's announcement is only the beginning of a procurement process," the official said.
The US Defense Ministry emphasized that the long-term purchase of newly created HIMARS for Ukraine does not prevent the US from continuing to remove existing systems from the arsenal if necessary.
The government official said that long-term procurement serves the larger purpose of having these systems under contract and in reserve for later delivery.
"If we don't invest today to procure HIMARS for the future, they won't be there when the Ukrainian armed forces need them down the road," the official said.
"This is a really sizable investment, and it's intended so that down the road, Ukraine will have what it needs for the long-haul to deter future threats.
It in no way rules out us continuing to invest in their current force with capabilities that are available today and that we can draw down today from US stocks," he explained.
As noted, planning Ukraine's future defense needs after the war's end is not a new concept.
Back in April, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin held the first of a series of meetings of the Ukrainian Defense Contact Group. Then the minister emphasized the need to ensure not only Ukraine's urgent needs but also its future defense needs.
"Ukraine needs our help to win today. And they will still need our help when the war is over," Austin said.
We remind you that the latest US aid package also includes:
- 150 Humvees,
- 150 tactical vehicles,
- explosive ordnance disposal equipment,
- body armor and an array of tactical secure communications systems,
- surveillance systems and optics.
The official also said the package includes 20 multi-mission radars that can track airborne objects and threats, including mortar and artillery fire, along with enemy unmanned aerial systems.