The US Department of Defense (DoD) is donating 580 Phoenix Ghost kamikaze drones to Ukraine as part of an additional security assistance package valued at $270 million.
The Phoenix Ghost is speculated to have capabilities similar to AeroVironment’s Switchblade drone, but its full potential is still undisclosed, according to Air Force Magazine.
However, they are “tailored to meet critical Ukrainian needs for today’s fight as Russian forces launch a renewed offensive in eastern Ukraine,” Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said in April, when the DoD authorized 121 of the loitering munitions for Kyiv.
Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative
The unmanned aerial systems were authorized through the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, which procures solutions from industry instead of pledging aid from the DoD supply stock. Of total recent assistance, $95 million has been relayed through the initiative.
Alongside the drones, the DoD has approved the delivery other weapons systems proven effective on the battlefield, including four additional High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) and ammunition, four command post vehicles, 36,000 rounds of 105mm ammunition, additional anti-armor weapons, spare parts, and related equipment.
The 16th Presidential Drawdown, which raised $175 million, adds to the $8.2 billion in total security assistance the US has sent to Ukraine since Joe Biden took office.