The United States is preparing to send more military and economic assistance to Ukraine, including a new “one-way” drone.
Congress previously approved $13.6 billion in aid for Ukraine. Roughly half of the funds for Ukraine were allocated for humanitarian and economic aid and the other half for defense.
Last week, the U.S pledged another $800 million in weapons to Kyiv which includes 72 155mm Howitzers and 144,000 artillery rounds as well as 72 tactical vehicles to tow the Howitzers.
Most notably, the package also includes a bespoke new drone developed specifically for Ukrainian forces based on their requests. The “Phoenix Ghost” is similar to widely-used Switchblade drones, which are small enough to be carried in a backpack and detonate on impact, but officials would not divulge the Ghost’s new capabilities.
So-called “one-way” drones are also referred to as suicide drones. They’re meant to fly around an airspace before diving into a target to explode. Ukraine has successfully used Switchblade drones to a devastating effect in its fight against Russia thus far. Officials would only say the new drone is “clearly designed to give a punch” to a presumably wider variety of types of targets.
The two batches of aid announced over the past week will provide Ukraine with enough artillery systems to equip five battalions, the Pentagon said. The U.S. has sent roughly $3.4 billion in security assistance to Ukraine since the invasion began.
A senior U.S. defense official said the first flights carrying the latest $800 million aid would leave the U.S. in the next 24 to 48 hours and would be in Ukrainian hands by the end of the weekend.