The United States may send a new missile system to Ukraine. A tremendous strengthening of the country’s strike force, says former chief of defense.
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Ukraine needs help, first and foremost weapons.
At the top of the list are long-range rockets. The missile systems are vital to stand up to Russia, according to the country’s foreign minister.
Well, the Ukrainians can have their prayers answered by the United States. The approval will probably be announced by the Biden administration this week.
Sverre Diesen, former chief of defense and current chief researcher at the Norwegian Defense Research Establishment, calls the weapons “a tremendous strengthening of Ukraine’s strike force”.
– This is something that the soldiers on the ground need most, he says.
He believes in this rocket system, known as GMLRScan have significant consequences for the course of the war.
The big difference lies in the range.
«Highly advanced weapon system»
The US GMLRS system can fire rockets much longer than the Ukrainians can today.
Unlike a regular artillery system, which fires grenades, these can be equipped with ammunition that reaches up to 70 kilometers, according to Diesen. This makes it difficult for the Russians to protect themselves from attack. In particular, they can fire at Russian artillery, which inflicts heavy losses on them, but which has so far been out of reach.
The distance depends on what ammunition Ukraine receives from the Americans. There are also rockets that can hit 300 kilometers away, but:
– The Ukrainians do not need this. This enables them to hit targets far into Russia.
Diesen does not think that the United States is interested in. The former chief of defense therefore believes that it is most likely that systems will come with the mentioned missiles.
– Regardless, this will be a very advanced and powerful weapon system that goes a long way in complying with what Ukraine has asked for the most.
Get help from Denmark
On Saturday, Reuters writes that Ukraine has also received self-propelled artillery from the United States. They have also received Harpoon rockets from Denmark. They are to be used against Russian warships in the Black Sea.
The Harpoon rocket was developed in the United States during the Cold War. Denmark is one of the few countries that has had a version that can be fired from vehicles on land.
However, military experts estimate that it may take several months before the Ukrainian army is fully trained in the weapons, writes NTB.
The Danish Ministry of Defense has neither wanted to confirm nor deny the delivery, the news agency writes further.
At the same time, there are reports that the Russian military has tested a hyperpersonal rocket in the Barents Sea. It informs Reuters. Such a Zircon rocket can go up to several times the speed of sound. It is called a “new generation of invisible weapons” by Vladimir Putin.
Requires little education
Russia has in recent weeks launched high-profile attacks on the Donbas region, where Ukraine is outnumbered by weaker weapons arsenals.
According to Diesen, it requires some training in the new MLRS system. At least for those with prior art knowledge of artillery. The weapons can thus be used quickly.
– I do not think the Ukrainians succeed in expelling Russia completely, but with this a Russian victory is even further away, he says.
When asked what consequences the military aid will have for the United States, Diesen answers that it represents an escalation. But not of a principled nature.
– If the Americans had given western fighter jets, it would have been a big step. Then we had talked difference of principle.
In violation of the Cluster Munitions Convention
The same weapons system that Ukraine is likely to get is also on Norwegian soil today, Diesen can inform. But it was taken out of use in 2005.
Norway’s ammunition was in fact in violation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions, which was signed by 94 states in Oslo in 2008.
The reason is that this ammunition throws out many explosive projectiles. Some of these remain lying on the hill without exploding immediately, called “blind walkers”. At great risk to civilians.
The former chief of defense says Norway is considering selling the weapons to Finland, which had not signed the convention. It did not happen. For a while, they considered scrapping the system. It was not done either. Today he is happy about it, he says.
– It is not long since the Americans were here and demonstrated new types of ammunition.
Norway is now considering using them again, he says.
It is not known if it is class ammunition Ukraine now receives from the United States. Diesen doubts that the Ukrainians will be hard preoccupied with it.
– Ukraine has not signed the convention. They are probably willing to take the risk they expose their own people to in the future, if it can help them win the war today.
He also said that the weapons system had previously been in use during the Gulf War in 1991 and the US invasion of Iraq in 2003.