Pentagon acknowledges sending previously undisclosed anti-radar missiles to Ukraine

This picture taken in December 2011 shows the Pentagon building in Washington, DC.

By Oren Liebermann, CNN

(CNN) -- The Pentagon announced Monday that the US has sent anti-radar missiles for Ukrainian aircraft to target Russian radar systems, marking the first time the Defense Department has acknowledged sending the previously undisclosed missile to Ukraine.

Colin Kahl, the under secretary of defense for policy, said at a press briefing that the US had sent "a number" of the missiles without specifying how many the US has provided or when they were sent. Kahl did not explicitly say what type of anti-radiation missile was sent.

A defense official told CNN the type of missile sent was the AGM-88 High-Speed Anti-Radiation Missile (HARM).

Produced by Raytheon, HARMs have a range in excess of 30 miles, according to the US Air Force, making them one of the longer-range weapons the US has provided to Ukraine. The missiles can be used to target Russian anti-aircraft radar systems, such as the S-400, which have made it very difficult for the Ukrainian Air Force to operate over large swaths of Ukrainian airspace. The missiles can also target Russian counter-battery radars, which Russia uses to target Ukrainian artillery.

Kahl said the missiles had been sent over "in recent [Presidential Drawdown Authority] packages," but the five most recent packages, dating to July 1, make no mention of HARMs.

"In the near term, we've been doing lots of things to make Ukraine's existing air force stay in the air and be more capable," Kahl said.

He pointed to the spare parts for Mig-29s that the US helped send into Ukraine to keep the Soviet-era fighter jets flying. Kahl then mentioned the missiles, saying they "can have effects on Russian radars and other things."

The Ukrainians have not publicly acknowledged receiving or using HARMs.

In recent days, open source reports have shown the remains of what appear to be the fin of a HARM missile that targeted a Russian position in Ukraine.

Kahl announced the missiles in a briefing about the Pentagon's latest $1 billion weapons package for Ukraine, the largest package of US weapons to date.

The package was focused on supplying ammunition for some of the key weapon systems the US has sent to Ukraine. That includes the High-Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS), which the Ukrainian military has effectively used to target Russian command posts, ammo depots, and more, as well as the M777 howitzers that have been a critical part of the fight in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine.

Russia, Kahl said, has had approximately 70,000-80,000 casualties of war, including killed and wounded in action, so far in the conflict.

"That number might be a little lower, little higher, but I think that's kind of in the ballpark," he said. He also added that Russia has lost between 3,000-4,000 armored vehicles.

With this latest package, the US has committed to sending Ukraine a total of $9.1 billion in security assistance since the beginning of Russia's invasion in late February.

The-CNN-Wire
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