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Canada has promised more than $1.5B in military aid to Ukraine. Here’s what we know

Canada has committed more than $8 billion to Ukraine since Russia's 2022 invasion, including over $1.5 billion in military aid. From a $400,000 anti-missile system to warm clothes, here's a look at what's been delivered or promised.

Military hardware pledged or sent so far includes anti-missile system, tanks, howitzers

Five men in military camouflage hold their hands over their ears as a large gun fires a round. Smoke and flames are visible exploding from the barrel. The scene is a muddy area near a field covered in light snow.

Canada has committed more than $8 billion to Ukraine since Russia's February 2022 invasion, including over $1.5 billion in military aid.

That imprecise number — trumpeted in Department of National Defence news releases with each promise of weapons, vehicles or ammo — ticked upward in June after months at "over $1 billion." (As a point of reference, Canada's defence budget in 2022-23 is roughly $36 billion a year, the department says.)

The Kiel Institute for the World Economy, which maintains a Ukraine support tracker, actually pegs Canada's contribution at $1.63 billion US, or more than $2 billion Cdn. They say they consider "upper bounds" when trying to figure out the value of in-kind support.

Here's a look at what Canada's money has gone toward, just as a major NATO leaders' summit opens, with military funding sure to be a topic of discussion.

NASAMS + associated missiles

At $406 million, this is the biggest price tag of the $1.5 billion-plus sent to Ukraine.

The Department of National Defence (DND) announced in January that Canada would buy the National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System (NASAMS) and its munitions from the United States and donate it to Ukraine.

The ground-based air defence system, with a range of 30 to 50 kilometres, is not only brand-new — it's not even in the Canadian arsenal.

"In the face of Russia's brutal airstrikes on Ukraine, this air defence system will help to protect Ukrainian population centres and critical infrastructure against drone, missile and aircraft attacks," Defence Minister Anita Anand said.

Although Anand told CBC News in early April that "we are doing whatever is possible to get it there as soon as possible," the system has not been delivered.

Delivery timelines are "still under development" with the U.S., DND said last week.

WATCH | See a NASAMS in use in this report from January:

Canada, allies sending offensive weapons to Ukraine

6 months ago

Duration 1:42

Ukraine is getting advanced air defence systems from Canada and more armoured vehicles from other Western allies ahead of a widely anticipated Ukrainian offensive.

Air defence missiles

Canada has donated three types of missiles from its own inventory: 288 AIM-7s, 43 AIM-9s and 12 AIM-120s. AIM stands for "air intercept missile."

The AIM-7 "Sparrow" is a radar-guided air-to-air missile that DND said it would send to the U.S. to be repurposed for ground-to-air use. The AIM-120 "AMRAAM" is a later-generation improvement on the AIM-7. The AIM-9 "Sidewinder" is a heat-seeking air-to-air missile, though defence intelligence firm Janes says it can be used in a surface-to-air system.

As of late June, the AIM-7 deliveries are listed on the Government of Canada website as "in progress." The other missiles are delivered.

Citing security concerns, DND would not divulge the number of missiles remaining in Canada's inventory. The value of the missile donations is unknown, but it's likely in the tens of millions of dollars.

A department spokesperson said giving valuations to used military hardware is difficult for several reasons, including depreciation, inflation and prices that fluctuate depending on the amount purchased. As well, the original procurement cost often includes delivery costs, parts and maintenance.

Tanks

Canada announced earlier this year that it would be sending eight Leopard 2 main battle tanks from Edmonton and Gagetown, N.B., to Ukraine. They have been delivered.

The Canadian government says the tank has mobility, power and precision that allow "an army to meet an adversary head on with superior firepower." An allotment of ammunition was also part of the donation, and a Canadian Armed Forces team was training the Ukrainian crews.

One big appeal of the German-made tanks is their sheer number: Canada's contribution was part of a wider package of tanks sent by a number of allies. The Canadian Army has 82 main battle tanks after the donation.

The Leopard 2s are generally considered by military experts to be better than most of Russia's tanks, providing better protection, fire control (ability to hit a target) and agility. Leopard 2s can reverse at speed, for example.

"Imagine a boxer who cannot move freely in the ring, but only in one direction," said Ralf Raths, director of the Panzer Museum in Münster, Germany. "The other boxer, who can move in all directions, has a big advantage, and that is the case with the Leopards."

As with the missiles, it's difficult to put a dollar value on the donation. Canada bought 100 used Leopard 2s from the Netherlands in the mid-2000s at $6.5 million each. Germany recently ordered some brand new Leopard 2s at a cost of roughly $38 million each.

Armoured vehicles

Not counting tanks, Canada has committed 248 armoured vehicles to Ukraine.

  • 39 armoured combat support vehicles: These eight-wheeled vehicles were produced by General Dynamics Land Systems Canada, in London, Ont. They were originally intended for the Canadian Army. DND said the donation is valued at $245 million, including add-on armour, a radio system, spare parts and training.
  • 208 armoured vehicles: Canada announced in January it would pay $90 million for 200 Senator armoured personnel carriers made by Roshel in Mississauga, Ont., after delivering eight of them shortly after the invasion began. The company bills the Senator APC as a multi-purpose vehicle meant for law enforcement or border patrol. CBC News spoke with Ukrainians using the Senators at the Belarus-Ukraine border in January: They said they like it.
  • 1 armoured recovery vehicle: The Leopard 2 Armoured Recovery Vehicle Canada, or ARV CAN, was taken from the army's existing inventory. It's like a tank crossed with a tow truck; instead of a turret and cannon, it has a hydraulic crane and winch, as well as cutting and welding equipment.
WATCH | An inside look at the armoured vehicles donated by Canada:

A look at the Canadian-made armoured vehicles being donated to Ukraine

6 months ago

Duration 0:39

Canada is providing 200 Senator APCs, armoured personnel carriers made by Mississauga, Ont.-based Roshel, to Ukraine.

Howitzers

Canada sent four of its M777 howitzers to Ukraine's military in the weeks after the invasion.

Three defence sources told CBC News at the time that four of the 37 howitzers purchased by Canada during the Afghan war were earmarked for shipment.

The big guns came out of the inventory of the 1st Regiment, Royal Canadian Horse Artillery, based in Shilo, Man., the confidential sources said.

The M777 is a 155-millimetre towed howitzer. While it fires big shells, it was designed as an ultra-light gun suited for mobile warfare and is easily transported by air. "Ultra-light" is a relative term, though: The M777 weighs 4,200 kilograms and has a crew of eight.

DND says it can hit targets 30 kilometres away.

While the department did not put a value on the howitzers, replacement barrels sent to Ukraine were costed at $9 million, and 40,000 rounds of ammunition committed to the war were valued at over $60 million.

Other weapons and ammo

Canada's donation of smaller weapons and ammo includes:

  • About 100 Carl Gustaf anti-armour weapons systems, which are rocket-assisted projectiles meant for use against light armour. National Defence did not specify a value.
  • About 4,200 M72 rocket launchers and 7,000 C13 grenades valued at more than $7 million.
  • Small arms and ammo valued at more than $69 million. That includes sniper rifles, machine-guns, pistols, anti-tank rockets and millions of rounds of ammunition.

Miscellaneous aid

Other notable contributions from Canada to Ukraine:

  • 76 specialized drone cameras from L3Harris Wescam of Hamilton, valued at over $100 million,including ongoing maintenance.
  • More than half a million pieces of winter clothing, valued at about $25 million.
  • Access to high-resolution satellite imagery from commercial providers, purchased for $22 million.
  • Non-lethal equipment, including helmets, night vision wear and gas masks, valued at more than $15 million.

With files from CBC's Murray Brewster, The Canadian Press, The Associated Press, Reuters

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