Ukraine using missiles too fast, the West can’t replace them in time

The British media point out that Ukraine’s missile consumption rate is faster than Western production capacity and the longer the war lasts, the better for Russia.

According to the British newspaper “The Guardian” on March 23, the conflict between Russia and Ukraine has been going on for a month, the first stage of the fighting took place quite fiercely, both Russia and Ukraine are gradually running out of ammunition and other military supplies.

The Ukrainian side claims that the Russian military ‘s reserves have only about three days of supplies left, and Ukraine also warns that its army is running out of anti-tank weapons and air defense systems. Supply issues are difficult to measure, some British military experts say, as both sides keep this information private for operational security reasons.

British media have pointed to concern for Ukraine, the fact that Western countries are also facing a shortage of weapons to help Kyiv government troops confront Russian tanks and planes.

On the eve of the NATO summit on March 24, Ukraine’s military asked the West for more weapons and has now received a commitment from the UK to supply 5,000 more missiles to the country.

Captured ATGM and MANPADS by Russian army
Captured ATGM and MANPADS by the Russian army

According to Forbes “The Russian invasion of Ukraine is reinforcing the value of simple, shoulder-fired missiles. As Western arsenals empty their stockpiles, flowing some 17,000 “fire-and-forget” missiles into Ukraine, the small rockets risk being consumed faster than the West can currently replace them”.

It should also be made clear that the Russian military is also suffering from severe logistical constraints, forcing the Russian side to abandon its seemingly overly optimistic plan to simultaneously encircle Kyiv and Kharkiv and attack from the south, and east, the report said.

The Guardian also gives an important piece of information about the current difficulty for the Russian military, whether Ukraine can launch an effective counterattack in the Irpin area northwest of Kyiv? And if the area’s main dam is somehow destroyed, it could cause a severe flood.

Some military experts say that, if the initial reports of a Ukrainian counterattack in the Irpin region are accurate, this will be a major sign of the problem of securing Russia’s logistics on the axis. The siege of Kyiv did not improve, while Russian casualties and poor coordination also help Ukraine in advance of Russian troops.

The British media reported, however, that the common opinion of many analysts is that the Russian side has the upper hand. “In general, Russia maintains a large stockpile of supplies and personnel in the western part of the country,” said an unnamed Western source.

On the Ukrainian side, however, the problem is more serious. The country’s military industry is much smaller than Russia’s, while many industrial zones in the east have been affected by the conflict and suffered heavy damage, which will be long-term damage for the Ukrainian side.

Although Stinger and Javelin weapons were easy to use in war, they were consumed much faster than they could be produced. And experts say that in terms of weapons and ammunition, the longer the conflict lasts, the more beneficial it is for Russia.

According to various sources the FIM-92 Stinger, is out of production in the U.S. and cannot be replaced easily. The missile system was first produced in the 1970s, and with tens of thousands of updated Stingers sitting in the U.S. inventory.

The anti-tank FGM-148 Javelin started entering U.S. service in the mid-1990s, and, today, with 45,000 missiles produced or on order, plenty are available. In 2019, the Pentagon awarded the program, a joint venture between Raytheon and Lockheed Martin, a contract for 2,100 advanced “F-Model” Javelins, that combine “multiple features such as blast fragmentation and high-explosive anti-tank into a single warhead,” allowing fighters to employ the Javelin against both armored and “soft” unarmored targets. With the first “F-Models” arriving in mid-2020, and a new, lighter-weight “G-Model” entering testing, Javelin production was winding down, replacing training rounds spent as U.S. soldiers worked with a missile set to be in U.S. service through 2050.

Today, the Javelin production line may merit reinvigoration. Production cuts have been substantial over the past decade: between FY 1999 and FY 2001, the U.S. procured some 9,848 Javelins, while, in the most recent three-year period (between FY 2020 and FY 2022), missile procurement shrank to a total of 2,037.

At last, the Russian military is said to have been very prepared for this conflict, while Ukraine take this lightly, and Russia has a lot of arsenals and military vehicles inherited from the Soviet era. This war has not yet seen many new Russian weapons appear, mainly old and upgraded equipment.

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