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US Lacks Long-Term Sustainment Plans for Ukraine Hardware: Pentagon Watchdog

The Patriot air defense system and other key military systems the US transferred to Ukraine last year lacked a long-term sustainment plan, according to two Pentagon inspector general reports.

Apart from the Patriot, the evaluations covered the deliveries of Bradley, Stryker, and Abrams armored platforms.

“Without deliberate and planned sustainment support, including proper spare parts, ammunition, and maintenance support, the Ukrainians would not be capable of maintaining these weapon systems in their ongoing fight against Russia’s full-scale invasion,” the reports concluded.

Bradley armored vehicles
The US has donated Bradley armored vehicles to Ukraine to help counter Russian forces. Photo: Alun Thomas/US Army

Lack of Patriot Life‑cycle Maintenance Training

A total of 186 Bradleys, 189 Strykers, and 31 Abrams were sent to Ukraine last year along with an unspecified number of Patriot batteries.

According to one of the reports, the Pentagon didn’t provide advanced training to the Ukrainian Air Force (UAF) personnel operating the Patriot to address life‑cycle maintenance tasks, “a process to anticipate sustainment needs.”

“Providing Patriot air defense systems to the UAF without a strategy for sustainment increases risks to both the Department of Defense (DoD) and Ukraine,” the report said.

“Specifically, Ukraine may not be able to independently sustain the systems, and the DoD may face challenges supporting Patriot systems in Ukraine while still maintaining readiness of US Patriot air defense systems.”

Concerns over Poland-Based Maintenance Unit

Citing a Security Assistance Group – Ukraine representative, it mentions that the Remote Distribution and Maintenance Center – Ukraine, the Poland-based US maintenance unit supporting Ukraine, lacked Patriot’s depot-level (sustainment-level) repairs.

It said that the Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (Materiel Readiness) recommended United States European Command identify requirements, facilities, and processes to provide life‑cycle support for Patriots transferred to the UAF.

Similarly, a sustainment plan for the ground vehicles is lacking as the supply packages, personnel, and facilities to conduct field‑level maintenance run through the end of fiscal 2024.

Risks Denting Ukraine’s Ability

It puts at risk Ukraine’s ability to fight effectively and the Pentagon’s readiness to address other national security threats, the reports added.

Though the DoD was working on developing a sustainment plan, it underlined, “the lack of foresight in this matter is concerning, and should be rectified promptly.”

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