60 American Bradley Fighting Vehicles on route to Ukraine
60 Bradley Fighting Vehicles (BFV) arrived in Bremerhaven Harbour, on Germany’s North Sea coast, on 9 February 2023. The BFVs will be sent to Ukraine shortly, as part of a $2.8 billion dollar, or €2.64 billion euro, military aid package from the United States (US).
Pentagon Press Secretary, Air Force Brigadier General Pat Ryder announced this shipment from the US Department of Defence (DoD) on 5 January 2023. Bradleys are medium-armoured combat vehicles, which can transport infantry, specifically a crew of three and an additional five or six troops, into combat zones, with both offensive and defensive capabilities. It has tracks rather than wheels but is lighter and more agile than a tank. The US and partner nations will provide training for Ukrainian soldiers to learn how to operate and maintain the vehicles. This will take place at a US military base in Germany.
The BFVs arrived in Europe from North Charleston, South Carolina, aboard the Wallenius Wilhelmsen vehicle-carrier vessel, Arc Integrity. Built in 2008, this vessel sails under the US flag. It has a length of 228 metres, a width of 32 metres, and a gross tonnage of 72,118 metric tonnes.
U.S. Transportation Command
The transport was arranged by the US Transportation Command (USTRANSCOM), one of eleven unified commands of the US DoD, which provides transportation for the Department of Defense. According to the Associated Press, the US has provided Ukrainian forces with over 2,000 combat vehicles since the start of the conflict, including Humvees and Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicles.
The vessel left South Carolina for the Port of Dundalk in Baltimore, Maryland on 27 January 2023. Its first European call was in Southampton, in the United Kingdom, followed by Antwerp, in Belgium, before arriving in Germany. After spending four days in the German port, during which time the Bradleys were unloaded, the Arc Integrity set sail for Klaipeda, Lithuania, where it arrived last Friday.
Aid to Ukraine
According to USTRANSCOM, “Along with the 60 Bradleys, the Biden Administration has announced an additional $2.5 billion in security assistance, comprising more fighting vehicles, ammunition, missiles, and Stryker armoured personnel carriers. This brings the total U.S. contribution to the effort to $27.1 billion since the Russian invasion began in February 2022.”
European allies are also stepping up their weapons commitments to Ukraine. A Senior US military official listed in a briefing last month: “Germany and Netherlands’ contributions of Patriot missile air defence capabilities, Canada’s procurement of a NASAM system, U.K. — U.K.’s — the United Kingdom’s donation of Challenger 2 tanks, Germany’s contribution of Marder infantry fighting vehicles, France’s donation of AMX light tanks, Sweden’s donation of CV90 infantry fighting vehicles and howitzers, Denmark’s and Estonia’s donation of howitzers, Latvia’s donation of machine guns and unmanned aerial systems and Lithuania’s donation of Mi-8 helicopters, just to name a few.”