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US TRANSCOM sends more than 60 Bradley Fighting Vehicles to Ukraine.

| 2023

U.S. Transportation Command is delivering the first shipment of Bradley Fighting Vehicles to Ukraine as part of the United States’ $2.85 billion military aid agreement announced earlier this year. Jonathan Stefanko, U.S. TRANSCOM, reports.
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A Bradley Fighting Vehicle loads onto the ARC Integrity on Jan. 25, 2023, at the Transportation Core Dock in North Charleston, South Carolina (Picture source: USTRANSCOM/Oz Suguitan)

The shipment — containing more than 60 Bradleys — left the shores of North Charleston, South Carolina, last week, and will provide the Ukrainian forces with additional offensive and defensive capabilities to protect their borders against Russia’s illegal invasion. “The situation in Ukraine really brought to the forefront the importance of logistics and the complexity of power projection and sustainment,” said Air Force Gen. Jacqueline Van Ovost, USTRANSCOM commander, during an interview with Joint Force Quarterly. “Our support to Ukraine would not be possible without the strong relationships we have with our allies and partners that provided the access, basing, and overflight to facilitate the delivery of aid,” she continued.

The vehicles sent to Ukraine are the last developed version of the M2 Bradley, namely the M2A2 ODS SA, available since 2003. It is even more recent than the M2A3, produced from 2000. The M2A2 ODS SA, for Operation Desert Storm Situation Awareness, incorporates most of the features of the M2A3, including the infrared camera for the driver but without the independent camera for the vehicle commander (used on the M2A3).

Along with the 60 Bradleys, the Biden Administration announced an additional $2.5 billion in security assistance, comprising more fighting vehicles, ammunition, missiles, and Stryker armored personnel carriers. This brings the total U.S. contribution to the effort to $27.1 billion since the Russian invasion began in February 2022.

“In addition to the large security assistance package announced [mid-January] by the Department of Defense with significant additional air defense and armor capabilities for Ukraine, multiple nations announced similar significant support to include Germany and Netherlands' contributions of Patriot missile air defense capabilities, Canada's procurement of a [National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System] and the United Kingdom's donation of Challenger 2 tanks … just to name a few,” a senior defense official said during a background briefing. While this is short of a complete list of equipment and nations aiding Ukraine, the influx of materiel is crucial as Russia’s attacks near the Donetsk province city of Bakhmut escalate.

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Stevedore drivers work through the night to load Bradley Fighting Vehicles onto the ARC Integrity on Jan. 25, 2023, at the Transportation Core Dock in North Charleston, South Carolina (Picture source: USTRANSCOM/Oz Suguitan)

“The Ukraine operations underscore the importance of having an agile mobility force, with both a strategic airlift fleet that can delivery immediately, within hours of notification and the available sealift that can deliver a much greater volume of materiel that is essential to delivering and sustaining a decisive force,” Van Ovost said.

“Working across the enterprise to draw equipment from different locations across the globe, transport it into Europe, and transfer it to our partners that take it directly to the battlefield has been a remarkable feat and demonstrates the value of our partnerships,” she said.

USTRANSCOM exists as a warfighting combatant command to project and sustains military power at a time and place of the nation's choosing. Powered by dedicated men and women, TRANSCOM underwrites the lethality of the Joint Force, advances American interests around the globe, and provides our nation's leaders with strategic flexibility to select from multiple options while creating numerous dilemmas for our adversaries.

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Bradley Fighting Vehicles are parked in the ARC Integrity on Jan. 25, 2023 (Picture source: USTRANSCOM/Oz Suguitan)

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