U.S. officials weigh doubling the number of rocket launchers sent to Ukraine

U.S. officials weigh doubling the number of rocket launchers sent to Ukraine
# 18 June 2022 20:16 (UTC +04:00)

The Pentagon is leaning toward sending four more rocket launchers to Ukraine in the next tranche of military aid, according to two Defense Department officials, APA reports citing Politico.

If approved by the White House, the move would double the number of High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems sent to the country, as Ukrainian and Russian forces continue their long-range artillery battle in Ukraine’s east.

The U.S. is already sending four of the HIMARS, a mobile rocket launcher, along with precision munitions that can strike targets 48 miles away. The U.K., meanwhile, is sending three units of a similar weapon, the American-made M270 Multiple Launch Rocket System, with a range of 50 miles. Germany also announced this week that it will transfer three M270s to Kyiv.

The Defense Department is still weighing all options and the decision to send four more HIMARS is not yet final, one of the DoD officials said, noting that U.S. contributions to Ukraine’s effort are made in consultation with allies and partners.

The decision will be “based on Ukrainian immediate needs,” the official said.

The two DoD officials asked for anonymity because they were not authorized to speak on the record. A spokesperson for the Pentagon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The administration expects to approve a number of additional HIMARS in the upcoming package, a third U.S. official said, though this person stressed that the next tranche of aid is still being developed at the Pentagon level and the final number could change at the last minute.

“We expect to be transferring more HIMARS and more [guided] rounds soon,” the person said.