The Pentagon has sent Ukraine its most accurate artillery shell, the GPS-guided Excalibur, according to budget documents that confirm the previously unannounced addition to the arsenal assembled to combat the Russian invasion. A plan to replenish the US stock of Excaliburs acknowledges for the first time that the Pentagon has been supplying Ukrainian forces with the shell. Officials have sidestepped questions about the Excalibur despite reports that planning was under way to provide it and then that it was already in use in Ukraine. A satellite-guided weapon that can hit within two metres of its target, the Excalibur was first used in Iraq in 2007 in the high-profile killing of al-Qaeda leader Abu Jurah and associates. The Defence Department will spend US$92 million in congressionally approved supplemental funds “for procurement of replacement M982 Excalibur munitions transferred to Ukraine in support of the international effort to counter Russian aggression,” according to a budget document last month that wasn’t previously disclosed. Used in 155mm howitzers – the US Army’s workhorse field artillery – the projectile was co-developed by Raytheon Missiles and Defence and BAE Systems Bofor. Ukraine claims Russian war losses now at more than 50,000 soldiers The precision-guided Excalibur lets battlefield commanders zero in on targets more precisely. It has a range of 40km (25 miles), according to the documents. The Excalibur is listed in documents spelling out how the Pentagon is spending some of the US$20.1 billion in the “Additional Ukraine Supplemental” signed by President Joe Biden in May. The Excalibur rounds were taken from US Army stocks as part of 19 “Presidential Drawdown Authority” moves valued at US$8 billion. So far, the Pentagon has detailed restocking purchases totalling about US$7 billion in seven instalments through last month. “The US$92 million addition to Excalibur more than doubles the programme’s budget, adding about 900 projectiles in fiscal 2022,” up from US$56.7 million that Congress approved this fiscal year, according to Mark Cancian, a defence analyst with the Centre for Strategic and International Studies who’s monitoring Ukraine-related spending. The US$56.7 million is to purchase 374 of the sophisticated, GPS-jam-proof rounds, according to US Army budget documents. “This also confirms what had long been suspected, that the United States is providing this advanced weapon to Ukraine,” Cancian said. Each round currently cost from US$98,700 to US$106,400 in fiscal 2021 and 2022 dollars depending on the quantities purchased, according to US Army budget documents. The Excalibur’s demonstrated accuracy “enables a first-round effect on target, reducing the number of rounds required while reducing collateral damage,” according to US Army budget documents. Based on its capabilities, the weapon probably has been used sparingly to surgically destroy Russian command posts and command-and-control centres as Ukraine troops engage in artillery duels with the invaders in the eastern regions. The US has also been sending sniper rifles to Ukraine and is seeking US$265,000 to replace its sharpshooting stocks as well as US$80,000 for long-range spotting scopes that were sent with the rifles.