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Intensity of Conflict Creates Unprecedented Need for Weapons, Munitions

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The intensity of conflict in the 21st Century and the need for weapons and munitions has been a learning experience for American defense officials working to supply Ukraine for its fight against Russia.


William A. LaPlante, the undersecretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment, said the need "really outpaces anything we've seen in recent memory."

LaPlante spoke during a Pentagon news conference this afternoon. He said European allies are seeing the same situation and all are working together to get the Ukrainians what they need.

Munitions sit on pallets marked with an explosive sign.
Munitions Transport
Pallets holding munitions are transported off an aircraft cargo loader into an aircraft at Travis Air Force Base, Calif., April 26, 2022. The United States continues to reaffirm its unwavering support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Photo By: Air Force Senior Airman Jonathon Carnell
VIRIN: 220426-F-NP696-1410
Troops tow a large artillery gun from a vehicle into the back of an airplane.
Loading Equipment
A Marine Corps 155mm M777 towed howitzer is loaded into the back of an Air Force C-17 Globemaster III aircraft at March Air Reserve Base, Calif., April 24, 2022. The howitzers are included in U.S. and allied efforts to identify and provide Ukraine with additional capabilities.
Photo By: Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Royce H. Dorman
VIRIN: 220424-M-AO893-1523A

The United States is using several different funding vehicles to rush weapons and munitions to Ukraine following Russia's invasion of the country on Feb. 24.

One account — the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative — is indicative of this need. Under this, the United States has sent $61.4 million in communications gear to Ukraine. Another $19.7 million went into Puma unmanned aerial vehicles, and $17.8 million went to Switchblade unmanned aerial vehicles.

A man passes a box to another man in a room full of people.
Sorting Donations
Navy Chief Warrant Officer 2 Alex Gernandt, a targeting officer assigned to the 1st Battalion, 5th Field Artillery Regiment, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, passes a box of donations for Ukrainian refugees to the sorting area in Torun, Poland, April 6, 2022. The U.S. remains dedicated to maintaining a strong presence in Europe to respond to crises and reassure NATO allies and partners.
Photo By: Army Staff Sgt. Gabriel Rivera, Army National Guard
VIRIN: 220406-Z-TS965-1206

It's not all just weapons systems and munitions. Under the program, the Defense Department sent $2 million worth of binoculars to Ukraine, $1.2 million in meals and ready-to-eat rations and $4.9 million in medical supplies.

Many systems the Ukrainians have utilized against the Russians, like Javelin anti-armor and Stinger air defense systems, came from Army and Marine Corps war stocks. These stocks need to be replenished, and LaPlante said the goal is to ultimately replace the systems on a one-for-one basis where possible.

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