Australia will deliver six M777 155mm lightweight towed howitzers and ammunition to Ukraine as part of a 26.7 million Australian dollar ($19 million) package to bolster the country’s defenses against the Russian invasion.
The assistance follows a request by the US and the Ukrainian ambassador to provide heavy artillery and ammunition to Kyiv, Sky News revealed.
“This additional military assistance will further support Ukraine in its response to Russia’s brutal, unrelenting and illegal invasion,” the outlet quoted a statement from Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Defence Minister Peter Dutton.
M777 155mm Features
The Australian Army has 54 BAE Systems M777 guns with a maximum range of 30 kilometers (18.6 miles).
The 4,100 kilograms (9,039 pounds) gun can fire conventional and precision-guided shells, including illuminating and smoke projectiles, at two rounds per minute in sustain mode and five rounds per minute in rapid mode.
Being a lightweight weapon allows it to be carried by aircraft such as the CH-47 Chinook, C-17A Globemaster III, and C-130J Hercules.
Moreover, the gun’s “higher level of digital connectivity allows more rapid, safe and accurate application of effects across the battlespace,” the Australian Army wrote on their website.
$160 Million in Assistance
The latest assistance has brought Australia’s total contribution to Ukraine to over 225 million Australian dollars ($160 million), including 65 million Australian dollars ($46.35 million) of humanitarian aid.
The military assistance includes 20 Thales-built Bushmaster mine-protected infantry vehicles, anti-armor weapons, and ammunition.
Australia has also delivered 70,000 tons of thermal coal for Ukraine’s energy needs.
“The Australian government will continue to identify opportunities for further military assistance where it is able to provide a required capability to the Ukraine Armed Forces expeditiously,” Prime Minister Morrison said in a statement.
“The Australian government reiterates our strongest support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and for the people of Ukraine.
“Australia stands with the people of Ukraine, and again calls on Russia to cease its unprovoked, unjust and illegal invasion of Ukraine.”