Strengthening the Ukrainian Army: The New US Aid Package May Include FrankenSAM and ATACMS

ATACMS launch from an M270 rocket system / Photo credit: John Hamilton, White Sands Missile Range press service
ATACMS launch from an M270 rocket system / Photo credit: John Hamilton, White Sands Missile Range press service

What is the full inventory of this package, and how will it bolster Ukrainian troops on the front line?

On May 10th, the United States of America officially announced the allocation of a new package of military aid to Ukraine totaling $400 million. The Pentagon has already disclosed the overall nomenclature in this package in its release, aimed at enhancing the overall capabilities of the Ukrainian Defense Forces in countering russian aggressors.

Patriot anti-missile defense system, Defense Express
Patriot anti-missile defense system in on duty in Ukraine, May 2023 / Photo credit: Ukrainian Air Force

In sections related to strengthening Ukrainian air defense, the Pentagon specifically announces the allocation of additional surface-to-air missiles for the Patriot and NASAMS systems, as well as portable Stinger surface-to-air missile systems. And most interestingly, "equipment for integrating Western launchers, missiles, and radars with Ukrainian systems," which can be perceived as a hint at possible expansion of the FrankenSAM program.

Read more: HIMARS, Bradley IFVs, Artillery Rounds: Contents of the First $1 Billion US Aid Package Revealed

For Ukrainian defenders on the battlefield, the question of ammunition is crucial. This segment is also covered in the new package:

  • 155mm and 105mm artillery rounds;
  • Javelin and AT-4 anti-armor systems;
  • Tube-Launched, Optically-Tracked, Wire-Guided (TOW) missiles;
  • Small arms and additional rounds of small arms ammunition and grenades.

But most importantly, it mentions additional M142 HIMARS launchers and "munitions" for them. The term "munitions" is deliberately placed in quotation marks because based on previous episodes, it may include not only guided missiles like GMLRS, but also ATACMS.

Launch of ATACMS, Defense Express
Launch of ATACMS / Open source illustrative video

Additionally, in this package, the United States allocates weaponry for the Ukrainian aviation.

The package also includes precision aerial munitions (possibly referring to JDAM-ER) and high-speed anti-radiation missiles (HARMs);

As for ground equipment, in this package, the USA allocates:

  • Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicles;
  • Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles;
  • M113 Armored Personnel Carriers;
  • Trailers to transport heavy equipment.

But what truly seems somewhat unexpected is the announced transfer of "river and coastal patrol boats." They will be needed by Ukrainian defenders when carrying out tasks in the South of Ukraine.

JDAM-ER bomb, Defense Express
JDAM-ER bomb attached to a pylon of a Ukrainian MiG-29 / Photo credit: @OSINTtechnical

And also in this package, the USA allocates equipment for protection against weapons of mass destruction. And this seems like a direct response to the fact that the aggressors have intensified the use of chemical weapons in battles against Ukrainian military personnel.

Read more: The U.S. Gives Ukraine Large Number of M2 Bradley, MRAPs, Other Armored Vehicles in New Military Aid Package