I both love and hate Ukraine’s statements of help from the Pentagon. Here’s the latest:
- High mobility artillery missile systems and ammunition;
- Five anti-artillery radars;
- two air surveillance radars;
- 1000 spear and 50 command launchers;
- 6000 anti-weapon weapons;
- 15,000 155 mm artillery charge;
- four Mi-17 helicopters;
- 15 tactical vehicles;
- Spare parts and equipment.
I love them because, hey, Ukraine is getting more of what they need to win this war. And the inclusion of HIMARS (more here) will mark a significant improvement in Ukraine’s ability to defeat Russian aggressors, just as Ukraine recognizes the M777, helping it maintain a line on the eastern front of the Donbass. This new aid package increases the US contribution To date, $ 5.3 billion and another $ 10.3 billion are available in the recently adopted aid package. So, yes, it’s exciting. So why do I hate it too?
Every announcement of assistance, whether from the United States or any other ally, is inevitably accompanied by a whimper and a whimper. complains: not enough, it’s too late, it takes too long, why won’t they do more, etc., etc., etc. Amazon has called people to think that Ukraine could order everything, and it’s three days later with free shipping!
One might wonder who cares that someone is wrong on the internet! (And to be clear, I don’t see it here, I see it on other social media). This is important because such thinking is counterproductive, ignorant and foolish, as well as a lack of understanding of the actual situation.
First, Russia’s total annual military budget is $ 60 billion, and it includes a large fleet, tactical nuclear weapons, strategic air defense, and other large budget lines. The United States alone is on track to deliver 25% of this budget to Ukraine in a matter of months, and billions will be donated by other partners. (Ukraine could even be close to de facto parity, given the devastation of Russia’s armed forces.) The contribution of the United States and its allies to this war is enormous and indefinite. Systems, materials, ammunition and parts are supplied daily. But people seem to forget all other things or they don’t care. They see “$ 700 million” as if it were the total amount of war aid. The same people will have the same reaction next week when the next part is announced.
Secondly, it is not too late. This war will not go away any time soon. Do we want Ukraine to have all these things sooner? Of course! It would have been even better before the war started! But no one knew how soon the war would end. It wasn’t too long ago that the United States threw billions of dollars of military equipment at a weak government. It is possible that Ukraine could have pulled out of Afghanistan, and it was not unreasonable to allow the first weeks to play out. The initial armament helped Ukraine survive the turmoil and awe of these first few days and weeks of war. Ukraine had to prove that it was worth the investment, and it did. Tough, but really.
Logistics lines then had to be set up, first setting up a supply center near the Ukrainian border (Rzeszow, Poland), transporting these supplies across the border (so that it would be difficult for Russia to ban them), and then distributing them on the front lines in war conditions. Nothing in logistics is easy, even in the most peaceful conditions, so how the Allies and Ukraine developed their flight and war zone will one day be a great book. So at first it was hard enough to get the spears, rifles, helmets and Stingers to the front lines, forgetting to try to move equipment and weapons that weighed in the tons. It all had to be increased. And in just three months, they have done so.
Take HIMARS. The car weighs 18 tons. That’s a lot, of course. But ammunition is the real beast. The MLRS / HIMARS pot carries six rockets and weighs 2.5 tons. It’s one volley, just enough seconds firing time and each weighs 2.5 tons.
There is no talk of support vehicles, but Ukraine will need HEMTT to tow these pods. Many of them, because the weak neck of HIMARS (and the M270 MLRS donated by Germany and the United Kingdom) will be able to deliver and transport these rocket pots. Each truck can carry two pods, four if it has a trailer. So we are talking about 5 to 10 tonnes of rocket blocks in one truck, or enough for about 30 minutes of fire missions, given HIMAR’s five minutes of reload time. (Probably more, because HIMARS will want to move to a new location to prevent battery outage, but you still understand what it is.)
The C-5 cargo plane can carry 140 tons of cargo or 56 rocket blocks – only 10-12 hours of fire missions. one launcher. And these pods have to travel 1,200 kilometers (745 miles) from Rzeszow, Poland, to the edge of the Ukrainian-occupied Donbass. This is a serious challenge, almost impossible. Like the M113 armored personnel carriers on board somewhere in the Atlantic, these goods will have to be shipped by sea from the United States (filling up the fastest stocks in Germany and the United Kingdom).
And that’s just getting to Poland. The pods should still be delivered by train closer to the front and then to HIMARS themselves. That was my job! Yes, I had to make sure everyone in my group had food, fuel, water and maintenance supplies. But that was the easiest part. Are our launchers loaded with rockets? That was the real challenge. And in our peacetime war games, it was difficult to launch more than a few fire missions each day. For some reason, MLRS / HIMARS is the most logistically challenging weapons system in the US arsenal.
Wartime makes things harder for someone to shoot at, but also easier because the desperate army will do everything it can to get ahead faster and more efficiently. But the only reason we are the same speaking currently it is because Ukraine has spent three months building, upgrading and optimizing supply lines. There is no way they could have dealt with HIMARS in the early days of the war. It was hard enough to get ammunition for the troops (and especially their artillery).
So no, this shipment isn’t too late, and it won’t be too late when it finally gets to the front in about a month. It is not possible to deliver it faster without affecting it other desperately needed stocks flowing into Ukraine. It is not for everyone to sit down to make decisions.
In addition to the need for more weapons, the consumption of army ammunition is frighteningly high. Equipping hundreds of thousands of reservists with body armor, helmets and rifles is a real challenge. Don’t forget about fuel. For three months, these deliveries have not slowed down slightly. We still have a number of cargo planes from the US, Canada, the UK, Italy and elsewhere landing at Rzeszow everyday. This operation is large, it continues, and it is operating at full speed before the war. And these shipments have always reflected Ukraine’s top priorities. They have fired shots. There were other priorities at the beginning of the war, but not only recently they were in a place to ask the MLRS.
The people involved complain that it takes too long to get these HIMARS to Ukraine. People think that three weeks is too long. I don’t think they’ll get HIMARS on the front in three weeks! Or better yet, I can believe that they can get a launcher there, but as mentioned, the real challenge is in the rocket blocks. An empty starter is useless. A launcher that fires 1-2 fire missions and then lands for a week in anticipation of the next shipment of ammunition is somewhat useful, but largely useless. HIMARS and the M270 MLRS will have the effect we want only if accompanied by an endless stream of rocket pods. That It will take three weeks to create, set up this logistics.
Finally, there are those who complain that the four notified triggers are not enough. Whatever is announced is not enough. When the Pentagon announced the 18 M777 howitzers, wailing “is that all?” was stunning when it was obvious that this was only the first post from many. So far, the United States has shipped 108 M777, and there is no indication that there will be more on their way in the coming months. Once the appropriate logistics are in place in HIMARS / MLRS, more will probably arrive.
But again, note that the problem is not the number of launchers. Four HIMARS in the middle of the territory of Ukraine in the Donbass may be more than covers the entire front as long as it is properly delivered.
Devil, one The HIMAR launcher can cause so much damage if a smooth rocket pod is used.
To sum up, the United States has done a lot to provide Ukraine with what it needs at every stage of the war. the original the shipment itself is an amazing investment in the war effort, and the delivery time is a logistical miracle.