The highly-prized HIMARS artillery system in the US’s latest $1.1 billion security assistance package for Ukraine will take a few years to be built, a Pentagon official said Wednesday.
The US announced it would send 18 High Mobility Artillery Systems, made by Lockheed Martin Corp., as part of the new assistance package. Unlike the 16 HIMARS already sent from existing Pentagon stocks, the new ones will have to be built under contract through the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, according to the official, who briefed reporters on condition of anonymity
The latest security assistance package is meant to be the beginning of a contracting process for Ukraine’s mid-to-long-term defense, the US defense official said. Other equipment will take six to 24 months to get to Ukraine as well, the official added.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has said the rocket systems have helped change the war against Russia, allowing Ukraine to hit Russian logistics hubs and ammunition depots and in some cases cut off access by destroying bridges. He tweeted his gratitude Wednesday to President Joe Biden for “a very timely decision showing that Russian blackmail doesn’t work.”