Washington

U.S. planning to give Ukraine smart-bomb kits

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According to senior US officials familiar with the matter, the Biden administration plans to send Ukraine advanced electronic equipment that will convert unguided aerial munitions into “smart bombs” capable of targeting Russian military positions with a high degree of accuracy.

The kits include global positioning devices for precision and can be bolted onto a variety of weapons. Creation of what the Pentagon calls Joint Direct Attack Munition, or JDAM. The US military has used the technology on bombs weighing up to 2,000 pounds, usually in conjunction with bomber planes and fighter jets.

It was not immediately clear whether President Biden or any of his top national security advisers approved the proposed deployment of the JDAMs to Ukraine. Those familiar with matter He spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive internal deliberations, but did not say whether Ukraine’s armed forces would deploy the kits on aircraft or ground-based weapons, or what specific systems in Ukraine’s arsenal would be candidates for such an expansion.

The Pentagon plans to significantly expand military training in Ukraine

Ukraine’s Air Force relies mostly on aging Soviet-era MiG jets, and the Pentagon has been looking at ways to upgrade them rather than providing newer Western aircraft that would require complicated new training from its pilots and maintenance units.

The Biden administration has previously equipped Ukraine with other advanced weapons, including high-velocity air-launched anti-radiation missiles, or HARMs, to improve Ukraine’s ability to conduct airstrikes. But these weapons function differently than the GPS-guided JDAM, instead chasing down radiation emitted by Russian units and headquarters.

A delivery of JDAMs would be another significant move by Washington to help Ukraine repel invading Russian forces and provide a new way to attack Russian units and headquarters. Since June, Ukraine has relied heavily on the US-made High Mobility Artillery Rocket System, or HIMARS, another precision system, to inflict significant casualties among Russian troops and disruption to supply lines, Ukrainian and US officials said.

The Pentagon is preparing to deploy a Patriot missile system to Ukraine

The Kremlin has reacted angrily to the pouring out of Western military aid, issuing thinly veiled threats to use nuclear weapons in Ukraine and warning of the possibility of a broader spillover war with NATO. Because of this, the Biden administration has sought to exercise caution in approving new capabilities that Russia could see as escalating.

On Tuesday, senior US officials told the Washington Post that the Pentagon is also preparing to equip Ukraine with a Patriot missile system, the US military’s most advanced air defense weapon. Biden is also yet to approve the move but could do so immediately, officials said.

Ukrainian leaders have asked for help beefing up their air defenses as Russia launched a relentless assault on the country’s power grid and the heat left much of the population crippled as the winter cold set in. The delivery of a Patriot that relies on radar and long-range missiles to intercept incoming threats would fulfill one of Ukraine’s biggest and most common demands of Washington.

To date, the United States has pledged approximately $20 billion in security assistance to Ukraine since the invasion began on February 24.

Jake Sullivan, the White House national security adviser, said Monday that the administration was focused on “mitigating any Russian efforts” to gain an advantage in the war and predicted the United States would soon announce new arms transfers.

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