In November 2022, Turkey began supplying the Armed Forces of Ukraine with Cold War-era DPICM cluster munitions. The Turkish defense industry produced such shells as part of a joint project with the United States. At the same time, the Armed Forces of Ukraine could have received not only 155-mm projectiles, but also 122-mm TRG-122 rockets by the Turkish Roketsan, also equipped with a cluster warhead.
Turkey is now the only country in the world that can export DPICM. The reason is that because the United States itself cannot sell such shells for export due to restrictions of its own legislation, although there are up to 3 million such ammunition in American military warehouses, Foreign Policy reports.
DPICMs are effective as they have 5-10 times more destructive power than conventional 155-mm projectiles, so firing cluster munitions ultimately leads to a decrease in the rate of wear of the barrels of Western artillery systems at the disposal of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. On the other hand, DPICM has a bad reputation among the US military, as in some cases up to 25% of submunitions may not explode. And some politicians in the USA did not support the idea of handing over DPICM projectiles to Ukraine: they say that this will only lead to more littering of our land with “explosive surprises”, which will take a long time to eliminate.
Comment: First it was the Bayraktars. Now it’s the cluster munitions. Old Tayyip continues to plot his middle course, but in these two cases he’s emphatically telling his old friend Vladimir Vladimovich to shove it up his fourth point of contact. Dan Rice is the President of the American University in Kyiv. He’s also an unpaid special advisor to General Zaluzhnyi, probably because he’s a West Point graduate who served his commitment as a field artillery officer. In 2004, he voluntarily re-commissioned in the Infantry to serve in Iraq for thirteen months. He had high praise for these cluster munitions in a recent Euromaidan Press article.
“Turkish-supplied DPICM cluster bombs were one of the biggest game changers of the war: using high explosive artillery against Russian infantry is like throwing darts at ants. With DPICM, it’s like using a flamethrower against the whole ant hill. After Türkiye started supplying DPICM to Ukraine, Russian daily casualties have increased exponentially, from 100-200 to 600-800 soldiers killed a day, Rice claimed.”
We won’t supply DPICM rounds to Ukraine. After pissing and moaning about Russia’s use of cluster ammunition in Ukraine, it would be the height of hypocrisy for us to supply them to Ukraine even though Zelenskiy asked for them repeatedly. Rice also says we should give Ukraine the submunitions for our remaining DPICM rounds for use as drone munitions. I don’t know if we’ll consider that or not.
BTW, I can’t begin to imagine the carnage a salvo of those 122-mm TRG-122 rockets fired by a battery of BM-21s would bring down on a dismounted infantry assault or even entrenched infantry.