It is planned to send an anti-aircraft tactical link to Ukraine from Britain, Germany, and Italy. What will the Armed Forces of Ukraine get and how will they be reinforced due to the next package of military assistance?
Italy is going to send Sidam 25 tactical air defense to Kyiv — a gun system of four 25-mm Oerlikons based on the M-113 infantry fighting vehicle.
Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi is preparing a visit to Kyiv, and during this visit he will announce a new aid package consisting of Self-propelled artillery guns, wheeled tanks, and armored personnel carriers, and these combat vehicles will become an important element of it.
A while ago, Rome chose them for their cheapness: the platform is massive and willingly supplied to allies from the United States, the gun system is simple as a hammer and is guided through an optical channel with a laser rangefinder:
I see the target — I shoot. I can’t see the target because of the weather or smoke — I don’t shoot.
Gepards with electronics
Germany is close to supplying the Gepard self-propelled anti-aircraft guns to the Armed Forces of Ukraine — these are 35-mm Oerlikons, but based on the Leopard-1. A multi-purpose system capable of operating from the battle formations of mechanized units, covering columns on the march, and striking from ambushes using the radar that detects an air target 15 km away.
Unlike the Italian stablemate, the Gepard is stuffed with electronics, automatic target tracking systems, and two radars. That can simultaneously perform both situational control and shelling of an aircraft, adjusting the fire according to the sensors on the guns.
In principle, all this is a palliative, a weapon from the time when Europe was supposed to be flooded with massive low-flying Soviet aircraft (strike "crocodiles" Mi-24 and "rooks" Su-25).
25-35mm fragmentation shells should have worked well against such tenacious targets in the air. And if things went badly, and the "Reds" would break into the second line, the crews would use armor-piercing belts — they would pierce tanks on the side, and armored vehicles — on the front.
West did not arm itself either
No particularly advanced technologies — mass cheap weapons with inexpensive shells. If the target is not hit, then a chain of tracers and close explosions will scare them away and prevent them from working comfortably.
The USSR made thousands of attack aircraft and helicopters — an asymmetric answer had to be found. Germany and Italy, of course, could not fire a missile costing like an apartment in Rome at each attack aircraft.
Therefore, the following answer was found — mechanized units are on the march, and along with — tracked guns (anti-aircraft self-propelled guns — Ed. note), capable of standing up for themselves in case of close contact.
After the USSR collapse, the threat of air strikes against the Alliance forces was so disappearing that not only everyone could pour billions into air defense. And the collective West would be happy to give something to Kyiv, but it itself muddles along with the Stingers on wheeled vehicles or gun systems on the M-113.
Why Armed Forces of Ukraine need to take everything
Are these self-propelled guns for the Armed Forces outdated? Of course, no. We massively use both the ZU-23-2 point air defense on cars and the ancient Shylka, and we are not very rich with tactical air defense on the march.
So in our situation, we can't pick and choose when setting the reserve corps and 150 troop battalions on their feet. Moreover, 1500 Stingers from the USA have not gone anywhere. Hundreds of Polish Groms and Pioruns have not gone anywhere. There are British Starstreaks that hit massive Orlans well.
The echelon up to 5 km was packed so tightly that enemy aircraft would already have a hard time even without gun platforms. Not a day goes by that a board is not demolished: a launch from under each bush is already a reality.
The main thing here is not Oerlikon with its "devices for selecting a shell" or programmable fire of 15 shots.
Although even a few Tunguskas, Gepards, and remote posts with the Soviet Iglas can already arrange hell for the helicopters and attack aircraft that have flown over the line of contact
Making ambushes, fire pockets, and zones of saturation effect from several points, correcting the whole thing from drones and cameras.
The enemy is not eager to go to the heights because of the Buks and S-300 in ambush, and small anti-aircraft artillery and MANPADS will not allow them to cling to the ground.
But this is not the main thing.
Rome and Berlin: Leap from Moscow
The main thing here is the precedent. The fact that the extremely pro-Russian Italy, always slowing down sanctions and trying not to lose its trade, is ready to supply us with heavy weapons in therapeutic quantities.
And that in Germany, Olaf Scholz is branded in the press by the opposition, the Greens and former politicians from the Merkel party, who themselves maximally slowed down supplies to Kyiv, and now they have become such hawks that it's a real pleasure to look at them.
"Sausage and politics: if you want to enjoy them, don't watch them being made."
But in any case, the trend is obvious — more and more countries are supplying us with air defense, self-propelled guns, heavy weapons, and armored vehicles. And those politicians who do not do this become targets for the most severe criticism.
Not only old junk
And we are given not only decommissioned things from what is available. For example, the British Stormer HVM is one of the most modern vehicles in the tactical air defense class, and our warriors are already trained on them in Poland.
After all, the question is not only in performance characteristics and efficiency — the same "rooks" Su-25 made in the times of the USSR collapse with the + sign in modernization are working against us. The fact is that the supply of a package of equipment also includes the wheels of logistics: spare parts, ammunition, lubricants and everything that moves the armed forces.
And any supplies that reduce our needs and enable the West to shoulder some of them are good. So Kyiv will get not only a means against massive Russian drones and army aviation strikes, but also a Western rear.
- earlier described how the Italian company Danieli helps Putin build nuclear submarines and attacks Ukrainian volunteers.