The 18 patrol boats being sent to Ukraine as part of additional aid announced Thursday will be used to monitor and protect Ukraine’s rivers, a senior defense official told reporters Friday.
The United States will be sending two small unit riverine crafts that are 35 feet long, six maritime combat crafts that are 40 feet long and 10 medium force protection patrol boats that are 34 feet long, the senior defense official said.
It is unclear of where the in the inventory the boats are coming from, although because they are authorized through the presidential drawdown, they must come from existing Department of Defense supply.
The Navy referred a question about the patrol boats coming from the sea service to the Office of the Secretary of Defense, which declined to comment further beyond the morning briefing.
The boats will have limited use for coastal defense, the senior defense official said. Instead, Ukraine is relying on systems like Harpoons, which Denmark has provided. The U.S. will also be sending vehicle-mounted Harpoon launchers as part of previously announced assistance.
The U.S. has not sent large naval vessels to Ukraine as part of assistance packages. Lawmakers proposed sending five littoral combat ships to Ukraine, but the country rejected the idea, Defense News reported.
The senior defense official was not able to provide a number of Russian ships currently in the Black Sea, although the official noted that the Russian blockade was still ongoing, which has cut Ukraine off from the Sea of Azov.
USNI News contributor H.I. Sutton tweeted satellite imagery showing seven Russian ships and a submarine near Novorossiysk Friday. They include three Ropucha-class landing ships, an Alligator-class landing ship, an Ivan Gren-class landing ship, a Grisha-III-class light frigate, a patrol ship and a Kilo-class diesel attack submarine.