the United States supplies long-range bombs for the first time
America is expected to announce two billion dollars in new military aid and the dispatch of GLSDB rockets with a range of 150 kilometers.
kyiv will not receive F-16 fighter jets, but will get long-range guided rockets. The United States will deliver GLSDBs (Ground Launched Small Diameter Bomb, Ed) with a range of 150 kilometers, should they announce this Friday, February 3, according to the Wall Street Journal . “The delivery of the GLSBDs calms things down and puts an end to the requests made to the United States, in particular to obtain F-16s“, analyzes Jean-Christophe Noël, associate researcher at the Center for Security Studies at IFRI. Indeed, Ukraine has been asking for fighter planes for several weeks. “Nothing is excluded“replied Emmanuel Macron. But the American president replied “noto a question from reporters.
“These bombs have the benefit of an air campaign without the cost“, Decrypts a military source. Depending on their guidance, they can obtain metric precision for ammunition of 40,000 dollars each, against 20 million for an F-16. Above all, they will allow the Ukrainians to hit the Russian rear to disrupt logistics. “They can fall up to 150 km, which corresponds to the depth of the front line in eastern Ukraine», continues Jean-Christophe Noël. Until now, the Ukrainian army could use the Himars, an artillery system that can fire, depending on the ammunition used, up to 80 kilometers.
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Another advantage, the GLSBDs can be precisely mounted and fired from these Himars, or from an MLRS rocket launcher (Multiple Launch Rocket System, Editor’s note) that the Ukrainians also already have. Concretely, these bombs are the assembly of two systems. A GBU-39 bomb mounted on an M26 rocket. Once pulled, thepropulsion part carries the bomb to a programmed altitude which then detaches from the rocket. Wings then allow it to glide to the target“says Jean-Christophe Noël. A specificity which complicates its interception by the Russian ground-air defense all the more. “Once the wings are deployed, it can hit a target pre-programmed in its memory or designated during flight. We use it to save heavy missiles“, adds the same military source to the Figaro.
Aiming high to disrupt Russian logistics
“Life is going to get very hard for the Russian Navy, Air Force and ammunition handlers in Crimeapredicted former US Army Europe Commanding General Ben Hodges on Twitter. Nevertheless, the manufacture of this ammunition by Boeing and Saab is only just beginning. They may therefore not be delivered for several months. But the two components, the GBU-39 bomb and the M-26 rocket, are numerous in American stocks.
For kyiv, which fears a Russian attack after the fighting has run out of steam during the winter, this ammunition could make it possible to hit the Russian rear. And this while the logistics are operating at just-in-time. If the range – 150 kilometers – does not allow hitting Sevastopol, an important Russian base in the Crimea, from Kherson, it does make it possible to envisage actions in the Donbass and even around the Sea of Azov.
The disorganization of the Russian rear is an important prerequisite for a military advance, for example mechanized armor thanks to the tanks announced by the Allies. “But for this ammunition to be useful, Westerners will also have to provide a set of information on the location of the targets to be struck: rail hubs, storage areas, possibly military gatherings“Warns the military source.
Ukraine had been calling for ATACMS missiles with a range of 300 kilometers for months. A request that has never been granted, Westerners fearing that the Ukrainians will directly strike Russian territory, thus leading to an escalation that is difficult to control. This massive $2 billion aid is also expected to include Bradley infantry fighting vehicles, Stryker personnel carriers, and support equipment for Patriot air defense systems. Part of this sum should be devoted to a fund called “Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative(USAI), which will allow the Biden administration to purchase weapons directly for kyiv from their manufacturers, rather than taking them from American stocks.
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