Espreso. Global

Ukraine must stockpile about 20 million shells after North Korea supplies Russia with ammunition - military expert Serhiy Zgurets

2 November, 2023 Thursday

Bloomberg reported that over 1 million rounds of ammunition have been shipped from North Korea to Russia, enough for two months of fighting, which is 500,000 rounds for one month

The Ukrainian Armed Forces' ammunition needs

Europe now has a production capacity of 500,000 for the whole year, which is the maximum. Therefore, we understand that ammunition will play a key role in the fighting. The question is for the US and Europeans to ramp up their defense-industrial machine quickly.

The information about the supply of about 1 million shells to Russia is quite disturbing news. If we take into account North Korea's total stockpile, which is not known for certain, the Koreans have about 8,000 122-152 mm caliber cannons. According to the regular requirement, Ukrainians should have about 20 million shells in storage. Currently, the supply of 1 million every two months is the rate that will actually affect the front line. Before that, the Russians had about 4 million in stockpiles. This actually allows them to maintain the pace of the enemy's hostilities, using up to 500,000 shells per month. This means that our needs should not be less.

First flights of Ukrainians on F-16: training and mass use of the aircraft

An officer with the Ukrainian Armed Forces, a combat pilot with the call sign 'Moonfish' is currently training to master F16 fighters as part of the first group of our pilots. According to him, the first flights on F16 fighters will begin any day now.

The main strength of aircraft is not individual use, but collective or group use. General James Hecker, the commander-in-chief of the US Air Force in Europe, says that it will take years to create a full-fledged, well-coordinated squadron of 12 aircraft. If Ukraine receives the fighters, relatively speaking, at the beginning of next year, the pilots will be able to have a cohesive combat unit in early 2027.

"Of course, it takes many years, especially for countries learning the F16 for the first time. In our circumstances, it is important that we all know each other well, and there is absolutely nothing preventing us from using aviation in the way we used to use it with old fighters at first. Of course, taking into account the new opportunities offered by the F16 aircraft. In peacetime, this probably takes many years, in particular, to build the infrastructure, the appropriate level of tactical skills, etc. However, in our circumstances, especially at first, we will use the tactics we have used before," said the pilot of the Ukrainian Air Force on Espreso TV. 

During our ground offensive, our international partners told and trained our mechanized brigades to act in accordance with NATO canons and standards, based on the procedures that exist in these countries. But later, the reality was that our military had to change their approaches in accordance with the requirements on the battlefield.

However, according to Moonfish, the overlords are not interfering with this issue and are not trying to teach the Ukrainian Armed Forces "how to do it right." Therefore, it is likely that Ukrainian defenders, especially at the beginning of the use of the F16, will use the old tactics, taking into account the new capabilities of the F16.

"All of our instructors are very experienced fighter pilots, they know the aircraft and Western tactics perfectly, but we ourselves participated in this development and the program is designed to meet the conditions in which we are fighting," he said. 

Program for training pilots to use F-16

The pilot of the Ukrainian Air Force says that all military personnel have experience flying high-speed fighters, so of course their program is shortened and simplified compared to the training program for other pilots. The first block is a training block, it is about mastering, learning to fly, and performing high-quality takeoffs, landings and other maneuvers.

"The program we are preparing for has been specially designed for us, taking into account the fact that we need to put these fighters into service as soon as possible. Given the fact that we have experience with fighter jets and combat experience, this is very important. Therefore, of course, the training is divided into blocks. The first phase includes studying the general features of the aircraft and its critical modes. Then there is a short pause in the training, we master the use of air-to-air, then flights and a small academic phase again, then we resume work on ground targets," he said.

According to him, the documents and contracts for the transfer of F16s are being drafted. In general, the transfer process is underway, and Ukraine will receive the weapons and all the necessary equipment.

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