New $175 Million Security Assistance Package for Ukraine Includes Depleted Uranium Tank Ammo

A soldier carries a tank round

The M829A4 is an Armor-Piercing, Fin-Stabilized, Discarding Sabot, with Tracer cartridge consisting of a depleted uranium long-rod penetrator with a three-petal composite sabot. – U.S. Army

The Biden administration announced a new $175 million security assistance package for Ukraine, representing the forty-sixth drawdown of donated equipment from U.S. stocks since August 2021. The U.S. has provided a total of $43 billion in security assistance to Ukraine since Russia invaded in February, 2022.

Notably, the security assistance package includes depleted 120mm depleted uranium ammunition for 31 Abrams tanks that were recently donated by the U.S. The first 10 tanks are expected to arrive later this month. Uranium’s high density makes it well-suited for advanced armor or armor-piercing rounds. The Abrams tanks heading to Ukraine don’t feature depleted uranium armor.

The United Kingdom has already given Ukraine depleted uranium ammo for Challenger 2 tanks. Depleted uranium ammunition is not radioactive, but Russian President Vladimir Putin chastised the West for providing weapons containing a “nuclear component.” Critics have also raised health concerns about exposure to depleted uranium dust.

In addition to the tank ammo, the latest U.S. aid package includes a variety of air defense and anti-armor missiles, artillery rounds, small arms ammo, communications equipment, and other gear.

The full list of equipment is as follows:

  • Equipment to support Ukraine’s air defense systems;
  • Additional ammunition for High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS);
  • 155mm and 105mm artillery rounds;
  • 81mm mortars systems and rounds;
  • 120mm depleted uranium tank ammunition for Abrams tanks;
  • Tube-Launched, Optically-Tracked, Wire-Guided (TOW) missiles;
  • Javelin and AT-4 anti-armor systems;
  • Over 3 million rounds of small arms ammunition;
  • Tactical air navigation systems;
  • Tactical secure communications systems and support equipment;
  • Demolitions munitions for obstacle clearing; and
  • Spare parts, maintenance, and other field equipment.

About Shaun McDougall

As editor of International Military Markets, North America, Shaun has cultivated a deep understanding of the vast defense markets in the United States and Canada. Shaun's perspective on defense procurement and budget issues has been cited in a variety of defense periodicals, including Defense News and National Defense Magazine. Further, Shaun played an integral role in the development of Forecast International's U.S. Defense Budget Forecast product, which offers an unprecedented level of insight into the Pentagon's acquisition budget. In addition to providing original analytical content for the U.S. Defense Budget Forecast, Shaun oversees an internal defense budget forecasting process involving Forecast International's team of skilled systems analysts following release of the DoD's annual budget request. Shaun is also in charge of managing Forecast International's Weapons Inventory database.

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