The Pentagon announced on Monday that the United States had sent anti-radar missiles for Ukrainian planes to target Russian radar systemsmarking the first time the Department of Defense has acknowledged sending the previously undisclosed missile to Ukraine.
Colin Kahl, Undersecretary of Defense for Policy, told a press briefing that the United States had sent “a number” of missiles without specifying how many the United States had provided or when it had been sent. Kahl did not explicitly say what type of anti-radiation missile was sent.
A defense official told CNN the type of missile sent was the AGM-88 High Velocity Anti-Radiation Missile (HARM).
Produced by Raytheon, the HARMs have a range of over 30 miles, according to the US Air Force, making them one of the longest range weapons the US has supplied to Ukraine. The missiles can be used to target Russian anti-aircraft radar systems, such as the S-400, which have made it very difficult for the Ukrainian Air Force to operate over large swathes of Ukrainian airspace. The missiles can also target Russian counter-battery radars, which Russia uses to target Ukrainian artillery.
Kahl said the missiles were sent “the latter [Presidential Drawdown Authority] packages,” but the five most recent packages, dated July 1, make no mention of HARMs.
“In the short term, we have done a lot of things to keep the existing Ukrainian Air Force in the air and more capable,” Kahl said.
He pointed to spare parts for Mig-29s that the United States helped send to Ukraine to fly Soviet-era fighter jets. Kahl then mentioned the missiles, saying they “may affect Russian radars and other things.”
Ukrainians have not publicly acknowledged receiving or using HARMs.
In recent days, open source reports have shown the remnants of what appears to be the drift of a HARM missile that was targeting a Russian position in Ukraine.
Kahl announced the missiles during a Pentagon briefing latest billion dollar weapons package for Ukraine, the largest US arms package to date.
The package focused on providing ammunition for some of the major weapons systems the United States sent to Ukraine. This includes the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS), which the Ukrainian military has effectively used to target Russian command posts, ammunition depots, etc., as well as the M777 howitzers which have played a role essential in the fight in the Donbass. eastern region of Ukraine.
Russia, Kahl said, has had an estimated 70,000 to 80,000 war casualties, including combat killed and wounded, so far in the conflict.
“That number could be a little lower, a little higher, but I think it’s a little in the ballpark,” he said. He also added that Russia had lost between 3,000 and 4,000 armored vehicles.
With this latest package, the United States has pledged to send Ukraine a total of $9.1 billion in security assistance since the Russian invasion began in late February.