The US is to provide $125 million to Ukraine in new military assistance, according to a CNN report citing anonymous officials.
Members of Congress were informally notified of the Department of Defense’s plans.
The chairs and ranking members of the relevant congressional committees will have a chance to review the aid packages before Congress is formally notified. This is the first half of the $250 million in Ukraine Security Assistance that has been appropriated by Congress.
“As a matter of policy, the Department of Defense does not comment on or confirm potential or pending security assistance packages while under Congressional review,” Pentagon spokesperson Lt. Col. Carla Gleason told CNN.
The assistance package reportedly includes counter-artillery radars and armed Mark VI patrol boats.
The boats, specifically, are “seen as particularly important given Ukraine’s tensions with Russia in the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov.”
After all, confrontations of various kind are harder to pull off when the marine capabilities of Ukraine are so limited compared to what Russia has to offer.
Reports in Ukrainian media claim that the US allegedly plans to supply Ukraine with only 12 Mk VI missile boats, which should be part of the Ukrainian naval forces on the Sea of Azov, with some of these boats supposedly armed with Hellfire missile launchers.
However, it should be noted that in the package of military assistance in the amount of $ 125 million, given the specifics of supplies through the American program of intergovernmental Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program, only two, or three MK VI missile boats can be included.
Mk VI missile boats were developed and are being built by the American shipbuilding company SAFE Boats International in Bremerton (Washington) since 2014 for the coastal guard of the U.S. Navy; in total, the U.S. fleet received 12 Mk VI missile boats between 2015-2018, and the general plans for their purchases by the U.S. fleet make up 48 units. The purchase price of one boat with weapons and equipment for 2014 amounted to $15 million for the US Department of Defense.
The all-aluminum MK VI missile boat type has a total displacement of 72 tons, a length of 25.8 m, a width of 6.2 m and a draft of 1.2 m.
It is equipped with two MTU 16V2000M94 diesel engines with a total capacity of 5200 hp, with two water cannons and is capable of speeds up to 45 knots. Cruising range 690 miles at a speed of 30 knots. The crew of the boat is 10-11 people, and another seven or eight are able to accommodate additionally (a total of 18 seats).
The standard armament of the boat is two 25-mm automatic remotely controlled Mk 38 Mod 2 units and six 12.7 mm M2 machine guns on turret installations (the installation of 7.62 mm machine guns or 40 mm is possible automatic grenade launchers Mk 19).
The Mk 50 fire control system is actually a ship’s version of the land-based remote-control module fire control system for the M153 CROWS armored vehicles. It is currently into consideration whether to equip the missile boats with small-sized rockets VGM-176V Griffin or Hellfire.
Regardless, if true and the Ukrainian border guard receives 12 of the MK VI missile boats, this would greatly facilitate its capability to carry out aggressive actions against Russian military and civilian targets in the Black Sea and Sea of Azov.
MORE ON THE TOPIC:
- Ukrainian Infantry Fighting Vehicle Destroyed By Own Landmine In Eastern Ukraine
- ‘Goodwill Gesture’: Russia Releases Ukrainian Navy Ships Seized During Kerch Strait Provocation
- War Provocation 2.0: US Vows To Assist Ukrainian Ships To ‘Pass’ Kerch Strait, Deter Russia In Black Sea