Thus, the total amount that President Joe Biden had the right to send to pay for weapons for Ukraine exceeded three billion dollars. Next week, the White House will send a new supplementary budget request to Capitol Hill. How much money will be asked this time is unknown. The first request was for $10 billion, which Congress increased by more than $3 billion.
In the new list of weapons, 72 howitzers, 144 thousand shells for them and tactical vehicles for towing attract attention. They will replenish the already sent 18 howitzers and 40 thousand shells, on which about 50 Ukrainian artillerymen are undergoing an accelerated course of training. In what place they are trained, it is not reported.
It is also not yet known what kind of towed howitzers the United States is sending to Ukraine. We can talk about 155-millimeter howitzers M198 or new M777 of the same caliber. They are taken from the stocks of the US Army and Marine Corps.
Most likely, we are talking about the M198, which entered service with the Army and Marine Corps in 1979. The system is old, and it's time to get rid of it in order to make room in the warehouses for new howitzers.
The M198 weighs just over seven tons, allowing it to be dropped by parachute or transported by helicopter. The Americans use the CH-53E Super Stallion and CH-47 Chinook for this. The howitzer is towed by an M939 truck with a maximum speed of 72 kilometers per hour on the road, and 8 kilometers per hour off-road. The calculation includes 11 soldiers. The effective firing range of a standard projectile is 22 kilometers, and a jet - 30.
The new American howitzer with the index "three sevens" entered service in 2005. It weighs over four tons and is 41% lighter than the M198. The effective range of standard ammunition reaches 24 kilometers, and the extended-range projectile (ERFB) - 30 kilometers. The M777A2 modification can fire GPS-guided M982 Excalibur ammunition, which allows accurate fire at a range of up to 40 kilometers.
In addition to heavy artillery, the current weapons menu included 121 Phoenix Ghost unmanned aerial vehicles, created by the Californian company Aevex Aerospace. Its performance characteristics are kept secret, but according to Pentagon spokesman John Kirby, the ammunition is similar to AeroVironment's Switchblade.
It can be assumed that the Phoenix Ghost is an inexpensive disposable suicide drone. It is possible that the launch system used is the same as on the Switchblade. This would be logical both in terms of cost savings and because the Phoenix Ghost was created, as Kirby said, "very quickly." This ammunition even took into account the observations that the Pentagon received in Ukraine.
Various versions of the Switchblade can fly from 15 to 40 minutes at a range of 10 to 40 kilometers. Perhaps the "Phoenix" flies longer, received an improved guidance and surveillance system, a different warhead. In Ukraine, they obviously want to test it.
Little is known about Aevex Aerospace, headquartered in Solana Beach, California. She does not show any public activity. The company says it is ready to provide a “full range of onboard reconnaissance solutions”, guaranteeing flexibility and an individual approach to customers. Of all these insignificant words, The Drive magazine suggested that the company is the general contractor for the development and integration of components into the UAV.
Last year, she signed a contract with the US General Services Administration for the ASTRO program, which covers everything related to manned, unmanned or optionally manned platforms and robotics. The contract was concluded for ten years and is estimated at two billion dollars. The company owns a testing and training facility in Roswell, New Mexico.