Home Air US delivers first-ever DPICM cluster munitions to Ukraine

US delivers first-ever DPICM cluster munitions to Ukraine

Photo: US Army

The US Department of Defense (DoD) announced a $800 million security aid package for Ukraine, which includes dual-purpose improved conventional munitions (DPICM) being provided to Ukraine by the Pentagon for the first time.

As Ukraine continues its efforts to regain territory seized by Russian forces, the package encompasses supplementary munitions for the US-supplied Patriot air defense systems, AIM-7 missiles, Stinger anti-aircraft systems, ammunition for HIMARS, 155mm Howitzers, Bradley IFV, Stryker Armored Personnel Carriers, mine clearing equipment, Javelin anti-armor systems, Penguin UAS, tactical recovery and towing vehicles, spare parts, and field equipment.

In addition, the package comprises extra artillery systems and ammunition, which includes the provision of dual-purpose improved conventional munitions (DPICM) to Ukraine for the first time. This decision comes a few months after Ukrainian officials requested the weapons to counter Moscow’s tank fleet.

To address the difficulties in ammunition supply, employing a single DPICM cluster artillery shell can efficiently substitute the role of 10 conventional high-explosive fragmentation shells when engaging typical targets.

In making the decision, the Pentagon had to carefully consider the potential risk to civilians in the deployment areas. As part of the process, Ukrainian officials provided written assurances to the US, pledging their responsible use of the deployed capability, stated DoD.

Additionally, Ukraine has made a commitment to conduct mine-clearing operations following the resolution of the conflict, aiming to further mitigate the potential impact of the rounds on civilian populations.

As per the official announcement, the deployed rounds have a low dud rate of 2.35%, in contrast to Russia’s cluster munitions with a dud rate of up to 40%. This reduces the risk of unexploded ordnance, prioritizing civilian safety while enabling Ukraine to effectively target areas occupied by Russian forces and equipment.

“This is to make sure that the Ukrainians have the confidence that they have what they need, but frankly also that the Russians know that Ukrainians are going to stay in the game,” said Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Colin H. Kahl.

Kahl pointed out that, with this announcement, the US will have the capability to promptly deliver hundreds of thousands of artillery rounds to Ukraine during a crucial phase of the offensive.

“This decision will ensure we can sustain our support for Ukraine by bringing us to a point where we are producing sufficient artillery ammunition on a monthly basis across the coalition,” he said.  

The presidential drawdown is the Biden administration’s 42nd drawdown of equipment from DoD inventories for Ukraine since August 2021, with a cumulative value exceeding $41.3 billion.