More HIMARS ‘Phoenix Ghost’ drones head to Ukraine


The US Department of Defense announced another security assistance package for Ukraine, which will include additional high-mobility artillery rocket systems, ordnance, and a significant number of Phoenix Ghost unmanned aerial systems.

This latest package includes about $175 million in equipment drawn from existing U.S. military stockpiles through the Presidential Withdrawal Authority and $95 million in equipment from the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, or USAI fund, said a senior defense official during a briefing at the Pentagon.

The latest set of presidential withdrawal authorizations includes four additional HIMARS systems, which will give Ukraine a total of 16; four command post vehicles; additional anti-armour weapons, spare parts and other equipment; and 36,000 rounds of 105 mm.

Pallets of munitions bound for Ukraine are secured on a commercial aircraft during a security assistance mission at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, July 21, 2022.

“It’s ammunition that’s actually going to support a donation that the UK is making of howitzers, and that’s something we do quite frequently when we match countries that maybe have part of a capability with another donor country to create a complete package. capability for the Ukrainians,” the senior defense official said. “This is something that EUCOM has facilitated through its cell in Stuttgart, Germany.”

As part of USAI’s $95 million spending, the Department of Defense has also pledged to send up to 580 additional Phoenix Ghost tactical unmanned aircraft systems to Ukraine. Under the USAI, these systems will be purchased from manufacturers so that they can then be delivered to the Ukrainian military.

“The Ukrainians have made excellent use of the Phoenix Ghost system,” the senior defense official said. “This action allows us to seek additional capacities from the industry. This is where USAI is different from picking – it is actually a supply action. And with the Phoenix Ghost system, what we will be able to do is ensure regular deliveries of this capability starting in August to ensure that the Ukrainian Armed Forces have a continuous supply of this capability.

Marine Corps photograph by Cpl.  Patrick King
Marine Corps Corporal. Juan del Haro and Staff Sgt. Mauricio Sosa loads a High Mobility Artillery Rocket System during Rim of the Pacific 2022 at the Pohakuloa Training Area, Hawaii on July 18. The United States recently pledged four additional HIMARS systems to Ukraine as part of the latest security assistance program.

While Russian advances in Ukraine are slow — and costly — there is also evidence that Russian morale is slipping, a senior military official said.
“We continue to see increased signs of discipline and morale issues in the Russian military,” the military official said. “The Ukrainian will continues to be incredibly strong. And what we’re seeing is that it’s going to kind of… push the Russians pretty decently.

Regarding Russian morale, the official said there are numerous reports that detail soldiers at all levels deserting posts or refusing to fight.
“We continue to see it in thoughts and conversations with Ukrainians who affirm it,” the military official said.


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