Espreso. Global

What key weapons both Ukrainian forces and IDF need and does US has enough if them

24 October, 2023 Tuesday
21:24

The US supply of weapons and military equipment is not limitless, and the production of specific arms is not keeping pace with desired speed. The defense industry is struggling to meet the increasing demand

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Defense Express explores the topic.

The issue of global arms shortages is of great significance today. The conflict in Israel has brought into question whether the United States, particularly its defense industry, can adequately provide its allies, including Ukraine, engaged in reclaiming territory from Russian forces; Israel, preparing for a ground operation against Hamas militants; and Taiwan, facing threats from China.

In this context, a critical question arises about the distribution of scarce 155mm artillery ammunition among multiple countries. Interestingly, despite both the Ukrainian Armed Forces and the IDF possessing a similar number of such artillery systems, several factors suggest that the situation may not be as dire as it seems.

According to a report from The New York Times, in addition to 155mm artillery shells, the United States also supplies two other types of ammunition essential for both Ukraine and Israel: the "smart bombs" (SDBs) and Stinger man-portable air defense systems with associated missiles.

Boeing has sped up the delivery of Small Diameter Bombs (SDBs) to Israel, fulfilling a pre-existing contract from 2021. Ukraine is also expecting a ground version of SDB this year, a hybrid of the M26 rocket and GBU-39/B bomb, though it's currently delayed.

Smart bombs shouldn't be in short supply, as Israel ordered over 8,500 since 2010, and the Pentagon procured more than 34,000 SDBs since 2018. Experts believe the US can meet both Ukraine and Israel's needs.

However, the situation is different with man-portable air defense systems like Stinger missiles, which both Ukraine, Israel, and potentially Taiwan need. Stinger stocks are currently extremely limited, and the Pentagon hasn't purchased these weapons for decades, leading to recruitment of retirees to teach current staff how to manufacture them.

The US may also provide Israel with the Avenger system equipped with Stinger missiles, which is also being supplied to Ukraine. Additionally, the US Army is developing a new missile to replace the Stinger, with plans for production in 2025-2026, designed to target higher altitudes, resist interference, and combat drones more effectively.

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