The US Department of Defense will award a $17.8 million contract for the industry to produce and send Switchblade drones to Ukraine as the ongoing conflict with Russia continues, a Department of Defense official told reporters during a briefing Friday.
"$17.8 million for Switchblade unmanned aerial systems — that's an award that's going to be seen later today, later this afternoon," Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment Dr. William A. LaPlante said during the briefing.
These drones will be bought from industry and delivered to Ukraine under the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative funding approved in the Ukraine aid supplemental funding, which was passed along with a massive spending bill in the US Congress in mid-March. The total USAI funding in that bill was $300 million, and the Department of Defense has awarded $136.8 million dollars of that so far, LaPlante said.
The $136.8 million overall has bought from industry and is sending "unmanned aerial systems, Puma, advanced precision kill weapon system, communication devices, combat medical equipment and supplies, meals ready to eat, even binoculars," in eight different contracts, LaPlante said.
The Department of Defense is also using $1.45 billion in funding approved by the US Congress in the Ukraine aid supplemental signed into law in mid-March to replace US stocks of Javelin and Stinger missiles, along with key components for those missiles, LaPlante said.
In the Ukraine aid supplemental, the US Congress approved $3.5 billion in funding to "replenish US stocks of equipment sent to Ukraine," LaPlante said. So far, DoD is using $1.45 billion from those funds to replace "Stingers, javelins and other key components," LaPlante added.
"We are actively negotiating right now — the Army is — for Stingers and related components, and that’s ongoing. Expect to get that awarded by the end of May. For Javelins, the award is imminent, so that’s all happening right now," LaPlante said.