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US–Ukraine aid goes old school with 30mm armed gun trucks

Assault units operating in Bakhmut with M2Browning machine guns. Photo: Car4Ukraine.

The latest round of security assistance for Ukraine has some surprising additions with “30mm gun trucks” on the list to join the conflict.

The latest round of security assistance for Ukraine has some surprising additions with “30mm gun trucks” on the list to join the conflict.

Nine mystery vehicles have been earmarked as counter-unmanned aerial systems in the large announcement made by the US Department of Defense on 4 April.

Non-standard tactical vehicles or “technicals” have already seen use as impromptu weapons of war by Ukraine Defence Forces and are commonly created by combining an open-tray civilian pickup truck with a mounted, swivelling machinegun. Gun trucks have also seen use by US soldiers on supply convoy missions in the Iraq War and Vietnam War.

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The Car4Ukraine volunteering initiative has reportedly already sourced up-armoured and armed more than 213 civilian pickup trucks for the frontlines of the conflict.

“The package includes important capabilities for air defence and to counter Russian unmanned aerial systems. This includes additional interceptors for both Patriot and NASAMS air defence systems, and it also includes new counter-UAS capabilities such as the 30mm gun trucks to detect and intercept drones such as the Iranian-built Shaheds,” a senior defense official said on 4 April.

“The gun trucks are a new item from the United States… and our expectation is that these will be able to detect and intercept drones including the Iranian-built Shaheds. It’s literally what it sounds like, a 30mm gun mounted on a truck, its going to take several months to be able to actually provide that to Ukraine.

“In the category of fires, the package includes a range of items to help Ukraine sustain its fight. This includes additional Guided Multiple Launch Rocket Systems, as well as 155mm artillery rounds, including Excalibur precision-guided rounds. It also includes additional mortar rounds, which continue to help ensure Ukraine has a layered indirect fires capability, including to support the close fight as its forces manoeuvre to push back Russian lines.

“The package includes several capabilities to support US-provided armour. That includes 120mm ammunition, which will support Ukraine’s newly formed armoured tank battalions, as well as Abrams tanks that the United States has committed, 25mm ammunition, which can be used on the Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicles that the United States previously committed, and also recovery vehicles and refuellers to keep the armour in the fight.”

The Department of Defense announced critical new security assistance including ammunition for HIMARS, air defence interceptors and artillery rounds, anti-armour systems, 3,600 small arms, heavy equipment transport vehicles, and maintenance support valued at up to $500 million.

The package also includes air defence capabilities, artillery and tank ammunition, mortar systems, rockets, and anti-armour systems using $2.1 billion in Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative funds.

Robert Dougherty

Robert Dougherty

Robert is a senior journalist who has previously worked for Seven West Media in Western Australia, as well as Fairfax Media and Australian Community Media in New South Wales. He has produced national headlines, photography and videography of emergency services, business, community, defence and government news across Australia. Robert graduated with a Bachelor of Arts, Majoring in Public Relations and Journalism at Curtin University, attended student exchange program with Fudan University and holds Tier 1 General Advice certification for Kaplan Professional. Reach out via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or via LinkedIn.
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