President Joe Biden has approved sending a new type of precision-guided artillery shell to Ukraine that the administration says will give Kiev a technological advantage in the fight against Russia. The 1,000 new 155mm rounds are part of a $400 million relief package that the White House is expected to announce tonight, US time.
The package includes four additional rocket launchers and ammunition, bringing the number of missile systems to 12. High Mobility Artillery Rocket (HIMARS)America supplies Ukraine. Eight Himars have already been delivered to Ukraine. According to a senior military official, so far 100 Ukrainian soldiers have been trained to operate the system.
The latest aid package includes three tactical vehicles, demolition munitions, anti-aircraft battery systems and spare parts and other equipment.
The new munition offers similar capabilities to the US Army’s M982 Excalibur missiles, providing precise target guidance via GPS. However, 1000 pieces is a fraction of 36 thousand. Fixed howitzer shells the US sent to Ukraine as part of the latest aid package. Ukraine usually shoots 5-6 thousand. shells from standard howitzer ammunition per day, Russia is firing twice as much at this time.
However, the administration hopes the new precision missiles will save ammunition as Ukraine struggles to recapture territory in the eastern Donbass, the official said.
“These missiles give Ukraine the ability to hit specific targets with precision, save ammunition, are more effective in terms of accuracy, so this is a further development of our support for Ukraine in the war in Donbass,” the official said. “This type of ammunition is not used in quantity [tysięcy] pieces per day”.
Precision munitions are important to avoid civilian casualties, a senior military official added, adding that, unlike Russia, Russia has been bombing civilians throughout the conflict.
“When you look at the impact of civilian casualties, it’s very important to use precision weapons to protect people who have nothing to do with this war,” the official said. “We can certainly see that the Russians don’t have the same precision.”
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