“On 26 April 2022, the German government authorized Krauss-Maffei Wegmann to transfer 50 Flakpanzer Gepard anti-aircraft vehicles to Ukraine. The first three Gepards arrived in Ukraine on 25th July 2022. A test showed that a supply of ammunition manufactured in Norway could not be fired by the Gepard, with a subsequent test of improved ammunition scheduled for August 2022. By 20 September 2022 thirty Gepards and 6,000 rounds had been delivered. According to Ukraine’s Armed Forces about 50,000 Norwegian made rounds for the Gepard had been received by 26 September 2022. Photos from the German tabloid Bild of the Gepard with a Ukrainian crew include high-explosive incendiary (HEI) rounds (where the projectile is yellow with a red band) made by e.g. Norwegian Nammo.[16″]
Comment: Ukrainian soldiers who now have these say that shooting down drones is child’s play with them. IMO the problem will be to keep them in ammunition. pl
“Ukraine is set to receive a total of 90 Czech-sourced T-72 tanks: the United States will cover repairs and modernization of 45 of them, with the Netherlands taking care of the other half. Some of the tanks will be in Ukraine by the end of December, others will arrive in 2023. According to her, these will be the most advanced tanks on the battlefield – once they are upgraded.”
Comment: Tanks are indispensable for sustained offensive operations and Ukraine’s demand for these is indicative of their intentions. pl
Poland (or the US?) has already helped to adapt the AGM-88 air-to-surface anti-radiation missile to be fired from either a MIG-29 or SU-27. That put Putin’s SAMs at risk including the fabled S400. Now they are helping to integrate the Anglo-French low-observable, long-range, air-launched cruise missile Storm Shadow AKA Scalp onto the Ukrainian SU-24. They have a 450kg (~1000 pound) warhead and a range of 560km (~350 miles). They are going to put the Iranian drone launch sites in Crimea at risk – or Sevastopol Harbor, or possibly they would use them to take out the Kerch Strait Bridge again after Russian engineers finally get it fixed.
But I’m a fan of low tech stuff. I see the Poles are using horses to patrol their border with Belarus. They should give horses, kit, and training to the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine. It wouldn’t stop any assaults, but could keep out Russian Spetsnaz incursions or act as a trip wire warning.
If the Ukrainians are willing to fly about 200 km inside Russia, that range would put the Engels airbase outside Saratov within reach – that’s where about half the Russian Tu-95 Bear fleet is based, along with 14 Tu-160s and at least some TU-22 Backfires. These are the planes that have been firing the cruise missiles that have been attacking Ukrainian (mostly civilian) infrastructure recently, and it certainly would be a legitimate target.
Peter Hug –
Not worth it in my opinion. Not unless they can take out a significant number of the approximately 20 TU-95 and 14 TU-160 stationed there at Engels. To do that they would need to mount a massive strike force and send it deep into Russian airspace. The StormShadow has just a 1000 pound warhead, so runway damage could be quickly repaired. Perhaps it might work if they could take out the the bunkers where the KH-101 cruise missiles are kept? The SU-24 has the range to do it. But they don’t have that many so why risk them as they are doing a great job of close air support?
I freely admit that it’s a maximalist idea, and would require risking a huge chunk of the Ukrainian SU-24 fleet – but if it worked it would (i) make the cruise missile threat mostly go away, (ii) send a very unambiguous message to the Russians that they really should stop fucking around like this, and (iii) be a huge propaganda victory for Ukraine. (The first is most important, of course.) Ukraine apparently has (per wiki) 12 Su-24s; I expect they each could carry two of these externally. Such a raid would have to be preceeded by a comprehensive effort to destroy all the AA missiles that could attack the strike, and then be accompanied by additional SEAD planes.
This is (obviously) a much higher risk operation than Ukraine has shown any appetite for to date, and I don’t expect them to try anything like that. The Engels airbase should be seen as a legitimate and attractive target, though.