The U.S. has approved a new $1.2 billion weapons aid package for Ukraine, to include additional air defense systems and munitions as well as more 155mm artillery rounds

The latest package includes equipment to be procured from industry using Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI) funds, rather than drawn directly from existing Pentagon stockpiles.

The Patriot air and missile defense system Photo: Raytheon

“When it comes to providing nearer term support, you’ve seen us use the [presidential drawdown authority] to draw down on existing capabilities and rush those capabilities to Ukraine. So when it comes to things like air defense, for example, you’ve seen us provide Patriots, NASAMS, we’ve provided HAWKs. Our allies and partners have provided things like SAM-T, Avengers, counter-UAS,” Air Force Brig. Gen. Patrick Ryder, the Pentagon press secretary told reporters on Tuesday. “So we’re not waiting to provide Ukraine with air defense capabilities now. The USAI gives us the ability to leverage the power and the capabilities of the private sector in order to support Ukraine’s medium and long term security assistance needs.”

Ryder also confirmed Tuesday that Ukraine successfully used the Raytheon Technologies [RTX]-built Patriot air defense system to take out a Russian Kinzhal missile, which has been described as having ability to operate at hypersonic speeds. 

“In terms of those kinds of operational details, I’d refer you to the Ukrainians,” Ryder said. “The U.S. Patriot system is in Ukraine. But in terms of which specific battery they employed, whether it was U.S.-provided, Dutch-provided, I’d refer you to the Ukrainians.”

The new USAI package also includes “equipment to integrate Western air defense launchers, missiles and radars with Ukraine’s air defense systems,” according to the Pentagon, as well as ammunition for counter-drone systems and commercial satellite imagery services.

Ryder was asked if the Pentagon had any details on specific companies it has selected to provide systems or munitions to meet the capabilities included in the new USAI deal.

“That is something that we’ll be exploring and when we have something to announce, we will,” Ryder said. 

Tuesday’s announcement follows a recent $300 million weapons aid package with more munitions for HIMARS launchers and artillery rounds approved last week, which arrives as Kyiv prepares for an expected counteroffensive operation against Russia (Defense Daily, May 3).