The USA provided Ukraine with a new package of military aid. Ammunition with depleted uranium entered there

Liza Brovko

The US Ministry of Defense announced a new package of military aid for Ukraine, the press service writes. The cost of defense support this time is $175 million.

The new package includes:

  • equipment for providing air defense systems of Ukraine;
  • ammunition for HIMARS;
  • 155 and 105 mm caliber artillery shells;
  • 81-mm mortar systems and shells;
  • 120-mm ammunition with depleted uranium for Abrams tanks;
  • TOW missiles;
  • Javelin and AT-4 anti-tank systems;
  • more than 3 million cartridges for small arms;
  • tactical air navigation systems;
  • tactical protected communication systems and auxiliary equipment;
  • explosive munitions to remove obstacles;
  • parts, maintenance and other field equipment.

This is the 46th tranche of military aid from the US since August 2021.

Depleted uranium ammunition will be used on American Abrams tanks, which will arrive in Ukraine in September.

What is depleted uranium

Depleted uranium is a metal, a byproduct of the enrichment of uranium for nuclear power plants. Its radioactivity can be about 60% of ordinary, natural uranium. One of the main properties of depleted uranium is its high density. For comparison, it exceeds the density of lead by 70%. Together with the relative cheapness of the metal, this makes it attractive for the defense industry. Shells with depleted uranium penetrate steel armor much better than conventional ones. Elements for aircraft and tank shells and armor for tanks are also made from it.

The principle of operation of a shell with depleted uranium is as follows: it does not explode but pierces the armor of the tank, causing its ammunition and fuel to ignite. In the case of hitting the target, extremely high temperatures occur, the projectile melts and partially evaporates, and the uranium dust formed ignites. Depleted uranium is not a nuclear weapon; its use is not prohibited.