As the Pentagon gears up to support Ukraine in a potential counteroffensive against Russian forces, the Biden administration plans to make a public announcement regarding a $2.5 billion military aid package. Two people knowledgeable of the decision have noted that the package will likely include a number of Bradley and Stryker armored vehicles.
It has been posited by U.S. officials that the conflict has progressed to the stage where Ukrainian forces need to attack with a combination of tanks, armored vehicles, artillery, and air support, referred to as combined arms warfare. An infusion of Bradleys and Strykers would provide added strength and mobility to the troops on the battlefield.
It has been reported that the upcoming transfer may have up to 100 Strykers, according to a person with knowledge of the plan. This would be the first time the U.S. Department of Defense has provided Ukraine with such vehicles. However, those familiar with the program remained anonymous to discuss it before an official announcement.
In addition to the 50 Bradley fighting vehicles recently mentioned in a $3 billion arms package, the upcoming aid will also include a substantial resupply of ammunition for howitzers, rocket artillery, and other mine-resistant vehicles, according to familiar people with the transfer.
USA’s 🇺🇸 next military aid package for Ukraine 🇺🇦 is expected to be worth up to $2.6 Billion and include at least 50 Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicles and for the first time nearly 100 Stryker Fighting Vehicles (AP) pic.twitter.com/VuBnMV2naI
— Ukraine Battle Map (@ukraine_map) January 19, 2023
To enhance the large-scale, combined arms training that several hundred Ukrainian soldiers are receiving at an American military base in Germany, the U.S. has provided new vehicles to the troops. Now that winter has come, the combat has shifted to the south and east and has devolved into a brutal battle, with both sides sustaining heavy losses for minimal gain.
At the Pentagon on Wednesday, Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Colin Kahl said that the Russians are really fortifying the FLOT, or forward line of troops, with trench digging, dragon’s teeth, and mine laying. So the focus is now on helping the Ukrainians combine fire and maneuver to break through the Russian defenses.
Kyiv’s wish for M1 Abrams main battle tanks is unlikely to be fulfilled by the aid package. The White House has disagreed with this demand, indicating the difficulty of running the systems and indicating they could be a complication for Ukraine.
Kahl commented that the Abrams tank is a sophisticated and costly instrument to train and keep operational. According to him, it utilizes three gallons of jet fuel for every mile, which might not make it the most practical system; however, they will keep examining what will be best.
The Bradley Fighting Vehicle M2A4 and the Stryker are two distinct platforms with varied capabilities. The Stryker is an eight-wheeled vehicle that can reach speeds up to 60 mph. It comes in multiple versions, including a widely used infantry model which can transport nine soldiers in addition to the driver and vehicle commander. The vehicle’s rear door opens downward, allowing soldiers to quickly exit into the middle of a battle or travel to a combat zone from a distant area. The Stryker is equipped with considerable weaponry, such as machine guns and grenade launchers, and the interior has hatches that enable the troops to rise up and guard the sides of the vehicle.
Since its introduction to battle in Iraq and Afghanistan, the vehicle has had a mixed reception from U.S. soldiers. While it’s quieter than the Abrams, the armor is weaker and has a greater risk of getting stuck in the mud. The Army had to quickly add cages to the vehicle to help pre-detonate rocket-propelled grenades fired by insurgents. This extra protection increased the weight and size of the car, which took its toll on its condition faster.
The capacity of the Strykers being dispatched to Ukraine to possess cages, thus making them more burdensome to transport, is still being determined.
In comparison to Strykers, Bradleys are bulkier and slower. However, they are supported by tracks that help them to operate in muddy settings. In addition, although they can carry fewer troops than Strykers, their thick armor and armaments (such as TOW missiles and a 25mm cannon) make them more suitable for combat.
Media outlets such as The Washington Post have requested to witness the instruction given to U.S. armed forces personnel, but the Department of Defense has not consented.