– Deliveries of Western weapons to Ukraine continue. How big of a threat is this overall? Where it leads?
– Of course, the appearance of each unit of weapons on the front against us is bad for obvious reasons. Where it leads? I believe, only to delay the hostilities. Not to a strategic aggravation, but to a prolongation of the acute phase. Of course, there will be more destruction. But, in general, these deliveries should not become critical and will be gradually stopped by the retaliatory measures of our group in the NVO zone.
– The weapons are very different. Not much is new. Sometimes one gets the feeling that the West is simply testing certain equipment or systems in Ukraine.
– A real test of equipment in combat is possible only if there are suitably trained and experienced Western specialists directly in the combat zone. Whether they are there or not is not known for certain. Without their participation, military personnel of the Armed Forces of Ukraine who have undergone short-term training cannot ensure the full potential of complex weapons systems supplied to Ukraine, as well as carry out full-fledged work to collect information regarding the specifics of the use of equipment in specific conditions.
– Doesn’t it surprise you that a country with gigantic arsenals of Soviet weapons today is experiencing problems even with simple barrels? Even the old “Maxims” lit up. Not everyone has Kalashnikovs. Where does it all go?
– The fact is that for 30 years Ukraine has not only raised and nurtured its army, but also actively sold equipment and weapons. Therefore, the lack of reserves for the main samples, in particular for machine guns, is due to the fact that Ukrainians treated the once colossal stocks of Soviet weapons as a consumer.
At the same time, the shortage of machine guns is quite natural. They didn’t have much in the beginning. In addition, it is a weapon that burns out very quickly in combat conditions.
The “maxims” and DP used by Ukrainians do not correspond to modern ideas in terms of reliability and reliability. They require skilled handling. Of course, it is probably possible to allow a poorly trained shooter to use these machine guns, but the operational efficiency will be appropriate. As far as I understand, both “maxims” and DPs are supplied by the Ukrainian military to the defense, which miraculously finds itself in a combat zone instead of trenches on the outskirts of its settlement, literally turning into easy prey for Russian artillery – along with its “antique” weapons .
About small arms, MANPADS and ATGMs
– What type of small arms is currently used in the Armed Forces of Ukraine?
– Over the past decade, Ukrainians have established the production and assembly of some models of small arms on their territory. In particular, these are Israeli bullpaps Tavor. True, in the war zone, these products are practically invisible.
But the Zbroyar enterprise and their trademark Ukrop closed the niche of field sniper semiautomatic devices. The Ukrop UR-10 brand rifle chambered for 7.62×51 is a classmate of the SVD. It is not known how many of them were produced, but they are noticeable at the front and there are many of them among the trophies.
According to store-bought sniper rifles, Ukrainians have a combined hodgepodge: what only they don’t have. Commercial weapons are ubiquitous.
– What about ammunition? For such a “zoo” it is difficult to build logistics.
– The UR-10 rifle I mentioned is supplied to the Armed Forces of Ukraine along with 7.62-mm cartridges of the same brand, which are assembled in Ukraine. Polish rifles Grot chambered for 5.56×45 are used to a limited extent, in the hands of foreign mercenaries you can see Czech rifles CZ BREN, also of NATO caliber. All this in the combat zone is mixed with cartridges 5.45×39, 7.62×39 and 7.62×54. I believe that such a hodgepodge adds problems to the Ukrainians.
As for anti-tank weapons, the same Javelin requires training. This system cannot be mastered by simply watching a training video on the Internet. If there are no training centers behind the calculations, and full-fledged theoretical and practical classes have not been conducted with the personnel, the effectiveness of the “wunderwaffe” will be appropriate.
With light anti-tank weapons, NLAW is easier, but again, it requires training. Sometimes in one fortified area liberated from the Armed Forces of Ukraine, our fighters find five or six types of completely different systems from the USA, Sweden, Poland, Germany, the USSR, etc. But, Ukrainians are not universal soldiers from the movies, who own all types of weapons from the cradle. The problem of the diversity of the Ukrainian arsenal is obvious and acute.
– By and large, the point is not even in a different range of ammunition, but in trite different practices of use. That is, one person cannot simultaneously master all types of weapons without appropriate training?
– Yes. Without full-fledged training, which is practically impossible in combat conditions, taking into account the quality of the existing personnel. This state of affairs leads to a rapid loss of Ukrainian military personnel, along with weapons that have not been properly mastered.
– Planting a territorial defense force in a populated area and giving them a carload of anti-tank weapons is not a solution.
– Lately, the defense has been a problem for the Ukrainian command. They are thrown to the front line with machine guns and hand grenades. They are initially demoralized, because they realize that they cannot provide adequate resistance to the Russian troops.
– Is it the same problem with MANPADS?
– With MANPADS, there is much less sorting. Unless, of course, we take complex British non-portable systems, but only mobile Stingers, Arrows and Needles. But compared to the first month of the special operation, the effectiveness of Ukrainian MANPADS has significantly decreased.
And in order to properly use MANPADS in combat conditions, it should normally be based on the last line of defense, when all the others have been overcome. And the Ukrainians do not have these lines, air defense is fragmented.
Weapons for modern wars
– It was expected that in Ukraine we would see something new from the technology and principles of warfare. And in the end, in fact, the weapons of previous generations work. Why is that?
– Not a fair statement. In this case, we observe the dominance of Russia in modern weapons. For example, these are operational-tactical missiles of the Iskander type or hypersonic Daggers.
On the other hand, Ukraine has outdated Soviet OTR “Tochka-U”, which can be used quite effectively. According to some estimates, at the beginning of 2022, the Ukrainians had only one division of “Points”, but they give us concern.
– Some experts express an interesting idea: high-precision, technologically sophisticated products are too expensive for modern wars. All the same, we have to return to tanks and infantry. Others answer: you can fire thousands of salvos of conventional artillery, but one high-precision projectile will solve the problem in one shot.
– Quite right. True, appropriate conditions must be created for the use of precision-guided munitions.
– Now in some foreign publications they say that the stocks of Western weapons are close to exhaustion. Especially in certain popular areas, such as MANPADS or ATGMs. How do you look at the prospects for the development of the Western military industrial complex?
– The American military-industrial complex is now, of course, having a big holiday. This is fine. As for the thesis that they will not be able to quickly reproduce the required number of Javelins and Stingers, I think this is true. This is due, in particular, to the peculiarities of the interaction of military firms with the customer. Russia, for example, literally nullified its army in the 1990s (not without the help of new “partners”, of course). Since the beginning of the new millennium, we have hardly built the sector of the defense complex from scratch.
At the same time, a period of relaxation began in Western countries due to the absence of inter-bloc rivalry. And among them, I observed degradation in the production of even small arms. The military-industrial complex itself does not look for difficulties for itself if the customer does not create them. All these years, Western countries have been testing their weapons and armies, mainly not in wars with enemy armies, but in the course of large-scale, but counter-guerrilla military campaigns. In general, everything was fine and the customer was satisfied with everything. And then there was a big collision. Our military-industrial complex, in general, turned out to be more effective than the NATO military-industrial complexes. In addition, we have large stocks of weapons and ammunition. Stockpiles of, say, howitzer artillery, which were created decades ago, are not canned. Properly stored, Soviet ammunition is no less effective than it was half a century ago.
– With all the problems with weapons, how likely is a successful version of the Ukrainian counteroffensive?
– The actions of the Ukrainian authorities are poorly predictable. The situation can change paradoxically quickly. And the ability to quickly respond to changing geopolitical, military-strategic realities at the front determines, in general, success. I believe that the Russian potential is sufficient both to effectively respond to any attacks by the Ukrainian side, and to achieve all the goals of the NWO. We will solve our problems.