Ukraine can’t maintain advanced US-supplied weapons – Pentagon

Aprilia Rine

Ukraine can’t maintain advanced US-supplied weapons – Pentagon
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The US has no plan in place to maintain, service or repair tanks, armored vehicles and air defense systems Washington has given to the Ukrainian military, Pentagon Inspector-General Robert P. Storch has admitted. The failure to plan “puts at risk Ukraine’s ability to fight effectively using the US-provided equipment, as well as the DoD’s readiness to address other national security threats if needed,” he added.

Storch revealed in two redacted reports released to the public on Tuesday that the US has delivered 186 Bradley and 189 Stryker Infantry Fighting Vehicles (IFV), 31 Abrams main battle tanks, and an unspecified number of Patriot air defense systems to Ukraine. 

Washington’s  Department of Defense “had not developed or implemented a plan” to maintain any of them, according to the inspectors cited in the reports, who warned that there is nothing to suggest the weaponry could be sustained past October 2024.

All of the weapons systems were taken from the US military’s own stocks “without limits,” under the Presidential Drawdown Authority, according to the reports. If this practice continued, it “may require the [Department of Defense] to choose between the readiness of [Ukrainian] units or the readiness of US Army units,” one official told the inspectors.

The US military-industrial complex has struggled to replace the weapons systems sent to Ukraine, due to shortage of parts and the lack of production lines or trained personnel. Maintenance was described in the reports as an “afterthought” for the Pentagon, whose main focus was to arm Ukraine “as quickly as possible.” 

An official with the US European Command told the inspectors that “the current model would not be sustainable or effective over the longer term.” 

“The DoD provided Ukraine with armored vehicles and air defense systems without a plan to ensure their long-term usefulness,” Storch said in a statement. “While the DoD is currently working on developing such a plan, the lack of foresight in this matter is concerning.”

The US military sent “limited spare parts, ammunition, and maintenance support” and “did not coordinate or tailor those efforts into a comprehensive sustainment plan,” according to Storch’s reports.

What was sent included “some” consumables and spare parts for field maintenance, as well as “additional items informed by US experience operating the weapon systems in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria,” Storch noted. 

While the sustainment is not required under the current congressional authority for sending weapons to Ukraine, “the weapon systems are not likely to remain mission capable” without it, the report said.

At least one US Patriot system has been destroyed by hypersonic missiles, according to the Russian Defense Ministry. Last year’s Ukrainian offensive saw multiple Bradley and Stryker vehicles destroyed in attempts to advance against Russian defenses. There have been no public reports of Abrams tanks being used in active combat operations so far.

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