The United States has approved a third-party transfer of Raytheon [RTX] Stinger anti-aircraft missiles and Lockheed Martin [LMT] and Raytheon Javelin anti-armor missiles from the Baltic states to aid Ukraine’s defense against the Russian invasion.
“In 2022, the United States authorized a third-party transfer of defensive lethal equipment from the Baltic states to Ukraine,” the Pentagon wrote in an email response to questions. “Latvia and Lithuania will provide Stinger anti-aircraft missiles, and Estonia will provide Javelin anti-armor missiles.”
Last year, the U.S. approved more than $400 million for Javelin anti-armor missiles, counter-artillery radars, counter-drone systems, secure communications equipment and electronic warfare capabilities (Defense Daily, Feb. 25).
Of the more than $2.7 billion in military aid provided to Ukraine since 2014, $1.35 billion has come from the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative and $721 million from the State Department’s Foreign Military Financing program, per the Stimson Center. Other U.S. funding sources for military aid to Ukraine include the International Military Education and Training and Cooperative Threat Reduction programs and the European Deterrence Initiative and the International Narcotics Control and Law Enforcement program.
The fiscal 2022 National Defense Authorization Act extended the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative through fiscal 2022, increased the annual amount authorized from $250 million to $300 million, and authorized at least $75 million yearly in that amount for lethal aid. Ukraine has ranked as the largest recipient of U.S. military aid in Europe and the seventh globally.
Republican lawmakers recently introduced a bill that authorizes $100 million in emergency funds to provide Ukraine with improved air defense, anti-armor, and anti-ship systems (Defense Daily, Feb. 18).
While the Obama administration prohibited lethal military aid to Ukraine, the Trump administration reversed that, and in 2018 DoD awarded Lockheed Martin and Raytheon a $307 million contract for Javelins for Ukraine, Australia, Estonia, Lithuania, Turkey, and Taiwan.
The State Department approved the sale of 360 Javelins and their command launch units to Ukraine for $86 million in March 2018 and October 2019. In a phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on July 25, 2019, Trump suggested that he would delay the provision of Javelins to Ukraine unless Zelensky’s government opened an investigation into Hunter Biden, the son of then-Democratic presidential candidate Biden.
“In 2021 alone, the United States committed more than $650 million in security assistance, including a $200 million package authorized by President Biden in December 2021 for the immediate transfer of equipment by the Department of Defense (DoD) – the most security assistance committed to Ukraine since 2014,” DoD said in its March 1 response to questions. “This assistance includes armed Mark VI patrol boats and two additional Island-class patrol boats; additional counter-mortar and unmanned aerial system tracking radars; Javelin anti-armor Command Launch Units and Javelin missiles; anti-armor rocket launchers; large quantities of small arms ammunition and artillery and mortar rounds; transfer of Mi-17 helicopters; High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles (HMMWVs) and other vehicles; secure communications, electronic warfare, military medical, and other tactical gear; explosive ordnance disposal and demining equipment; support for a satellite imagery capability; other significant military hardware.”
In addition, Biden has authorized “an additional $350 million of military assistance from DoD inventories” that will bring the total amount of aid for Ukraine “to $1 billion over the past year,” DoD said.
“The U.S. will provide defensive assistance to help Ukraine address the armored, airborne, and other threats it is now facing,” the Pentagon said. “The U.S. is not supporting Ukraine alone. We, along with our allies and partners, are standing together and are employing all available security cooperation tools in support of the Ukrainian people. Our commitments and deliveries continue as a sign of our unwavering support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
Last September and December, DoD awarded Bremerton, Wash.-based SAFE Boats International a $110 million contract for eight Mk VI patrol boats for Ukraine. The State Department had approved a sale of up to 16 of the boats to Ukraine in June 2020. Louisiana-based Bollinger Shipyards LLC built the Island-class cutters for the U.S. Coast Guard, which has transferred some of them through the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) to Ukraine and other countries.
The Pentagon last week detailed plans to move additional troops and equipment, such as F-35 strike fighters and AH-64 Apache attack helicopters, within Europe to support allies on NATO’s eastern flank (Defense Daily, Feb. 22).