Originally published May 3, 2023 11:30 am PDT
U.S. officials have revealed plans to send unguided Hydra-70 rockets to Ukraine in a new $300 million military aid package, marking the first time the short-range air-launched rocket will be included in aid for the embattled nation, according to a report from Reuters.
This latest security assistance package represents the 37th package of aid approved by the United States since the Russian “military operation” began in February 2022, bringing the total assistance to nearly $36 billion.
In addition to the Hydra-70 rockets, the package will reportedly contain further supplies of artillery rounds and missiles, demolition equipment, and trucks, according to unnamed officials.
The aid, which is also anticipated to include additional howitzer rounds and anti-tank rifles, will be sourced from existing stocks.
Manufactured by defense contractor General Dynamics, Hydra-70 rocket systems are described as “a lethal and lightweight weapon system with multi-mission capability,” as noted by Newsweek.
The 2.75-inch (70 mm) unguided air-to-surface rockets can be equipped with nine different warheads, providing a “tailor-made solution” to address the operator’s needs.
As the defense contractor notes, they are an “affordable” means of targeting “lower-value targets on the battlefield.”
Compatible with aircraft such as the Apache helicopter and the F-16 fighter jet, Hydra-70 rockets are the world’s most widely used helicopter-launched weapon system.
Since 1996, General Dynamics, a BlackRock-owned weapons manufacturer, has produced over four million of these air-launched rockets.
With a range of approximately 10,500 meters (6.5 miles), they offer a shorter-range capability compared to other weapon systems provided to Ukraine, such as the ground-launched small-diameter bombs (GLSDBs), which boast a range of 94 miles.