What new weapons Ukraine can get in 2024
And what else is really important not to forget when talking about weapons for the Ukrainian Defense Forces
Defense Express writes about this.
Last year, Ukrainian pilots and technicians finally started training with the allies, and different countries agreed to give Ukraine their aircraft - namely Denmark, the Netherlands, Norway and Belgium.
This year, we are likely to witness a truly historic event when the first F-16 multifunctional fighters will enter service with the Ukrainian army. Moreover, the preparation of the first batch of 18 aircraft from the Netherlands has already begun. And this is actually one of the most complex weapons Ukraine has ever received from the allies, including infrastructure preparation, airfield protection, and further aircraft operation and maintenance.
The question of how to modernize the F-16 for Ukraine remains relevant in the context of the aircraft transfer, as well as, of course, what kind of weapons and in what quantities will be provided by Ukraine’s allies as part of defense assistance.
On the one hand, these long-range missiles were fairly included in the list of weapons Ukraine first received in 2023. However, it was a version with a cluster warhead and a range of only 165 km. Therefore, in 2024, the issue of transferring a version of ATACMS missiles with a range of 300 km to the Ukrainian Armed Forces remains relevant, especially since in November, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin hinted at the transfer of additional long-range weapons.
But even if the Americans eventually give the 'green light' to transfer these missiles to Ukraine, the military will have to carefully choose the targets for ATACMS, because the number of missiles is likely to be quite limited.
First, the Germans said that the transfer of TAURUS would be relevant only if the United States provided Ukraine with ATACMS. Later, they talked about the issue of "reprogramming" the missiles to reduce their range and prevent Ukraine from using them to strike at Russian territory.
There was also talk of extended delivery times if the missiles were adapted for launch from Su-24M, supposedly because in addition to the two months needed to "bolt the missiles on," another four months would be spent on training.
In fact, the reason why Germany is postponing the transfer of these missiles is the actual number of combat-ready TAURUS, which has been announced as being in the range of several hundred missiles.
Almost a year has passed since the United States first officially announced the transfer of this combination of missile and precision bomb from Saab and Boeing. And while initially the timeline was constantly shifted to 2023, in late November it was announced that the first batch of weapons would be delivered in 2024.
As previously reported, this month Ukraine is supposed to receive a secret missile with a range of 300 km and a warhead of 100 kg, and this combination is quite atypical.
Among the options, one can consider, for example, the AGM-88G AARGM-ER with a range of 300 km and a 30 kg smaller warhead than the WAU-7/B (70 kg). But it is possible, of course, that this could be a new missile.
THAAD and other weapons
In early December, it was reported that the Ukrainian Defense Ministry presented a new list of weapons needed by Ukraine's Defense Forces, including Abrams tanks, 155-mm ammunition, Abrams artillery systems, F-16s, ATACMS, etc.
But there were also new names, such as the THAAD missile defense system, the F-18, and even the C-17 Globemaster and C-130 Super Hercules. There were also helicopters, Apache and Black Hawk, and three types of drones from General Atomics, in particular the MQ-9B Sky Guardian. And although, of course, this entire list is unlikely to be actively discussed this year, let alone transferred, the helicopters are a very important issue for strengthening Ukraine's army.
In conclusion, Defense Express notes that the new weapons such as airplanes, helicopters, long-range missiles, etc. are indeed what the Ukrainian Defense Forces need to effectively counter the Russian occupation forces. However, behind the new names, the current needs should not be forgotten, and this is a rather extensive list - from ammunition for various weapons to various armored vehicles, including IFVs like Bradley, engineering vehicles, tanks, etc. And no weapon alone is a "game changer."