US to deliver more 155mm towed howitzers and Phoenix Ghost suicide drones to Ukraine
According to a statement published by the United States Department of Defense on April 21, 2022, the United States will provide new aid of military equipment for a value of $800 million including 72 155 mm howitzers, 144,000 artillery rounds, 121 Phoenix Ghost unmanned aerial systems and vehicles with which to tow the howitzers.
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U.S. Airborne artillerymen assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division Artillery fire their M777A2 medium howitzer in an emergency fire mission, also known as a hip shoot, during a Division Artillery Readiness Test on Fort Bragg N.C. (Picture source U.S. DoD)
Currently, the United States hasn't revealed yet which type of 155mm howitzer that will be donated to Ukraine. The standard 155mm howitzer used by the U.S. armed forces is the M777A2, which has replaced the old M198, a towed 155mm howitzer that entered into service with the U.S. in 1979.
With the 72 155mm towed howitzers, the Ukrainian armed forces will be able to equip five artillery battalions and will help the Ukrainian army in its fight against Russian troops in the Donbas.
The new military aid to Ukraine also includes 72 tactical vehicles which can be used to tow the 155mm howitzers.
The Phoenix Ghost is a suicide drone that was developed by the U.S. Force according to the needs of the Ukrainian armed forces. It will have similar capabilities as the Switchblade loitering munitions.
During a background briefing this morning, a U.S. senior defense official said Eucom Control Center - Ukraine was established in March in Stuttgart, Germany, to support both security force assistance and humanitarian assistance to the Ukrainians.
The U.S. official said for the latest security assistance package, Eucom Control Center - Ukraine has been working with the services and with the joint staff on sourcing solutions for the equipment and material. It's expected the first flights will leave the U.S. in the next 24 to 48 hours and that the first rounds of that equipment will be in the Ukrainian hands by the end of the weekend.