Ukraine’s best weapons against Russia

If at the beginning of the war, which Russia started on 24 February, Ukraine relied largely on old Soviet-made weapons, the situation changed substantially after a few months of conflict.

Now, thanks to its Western allies, Ukraine operates some of the most advanced weapons and military systems in the world.

We have compiled rankings of the five best weapons used by the Ukrainians against Russian invaders, based on the estimated impact they have had so far on the battlefield:

1. M142 HIMARS

Less than 16 such units devastated Russian positions, destroying warehouses, bridges, command centres and other important objectives. The launchers use GPS-guided M30 and M31 missiles with a maximum range of 70 km. The system can also use unguided M26 missiles with a maximum range of 45 km.

Also read: Putin has a big problem: The reason his troops are unable to intercept HIMARS missiles

Washington has not yet offered Kiev ATACMS (MGM-140 Advanced Tactical Missile System) systems, capable of hitting targets up to 300 km away, for fear that Ukraine will use them to attack targets deep inside Russian territory.

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After HIMARS appeared on the front lines, the initiative in the war reverted to the Ukrainian side.

2. FGM-148 Javelin

This fire-and-forget anti-tank missile system devastated armored vehicle units sent by Russia to Ukraine. The Javelin, which entered service in 1996, is so deadly because the launched missile doesn’t hit vehicles in heavily armored areas, but rises into the air and then descends from above, striking where protection is low.

This is why I saw Russian tanks on the Ukrainian front that had metal cages welded on top of them. Unfortunately for Putin’s army, the solution doesn’t work. An important contribution, along with the Javelin, has been made by the NLAW (developed by Britain and Sweden) and AT4 (Sweden) systems in destroying Russian vehicles.

4. M777 155 mm howitzers

These systems, received by Ukraine in several variants, helped, together with HIMARS, to stop Russia’s offensive in the Donbas region and helped Ukraine regain the initiative on the battlefield. The howitzers are lighter and superior to those owned by Russia.

M777 models can use a wide range of projectiles, including some of the more accurate ones, such as the M982 Excalibur. Ukraine has also received M795 projectiles, which can inflict massive destruction at a range of 70 metres.

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Kiev received about 130 howitzers from the US, along with 226,000 projectiles.

4. FIM-92 Stinger

These portable anti-aircraft systems decimated attack aircraft and helicopters sent by Russia to Ukraine, especially in the early part of the conflict.
The FIM-92 Stinger is a MANPADS (man-portable air-defense system) that can be operated by one person. The device can also be mounted on land vehicles or helicopters. The system entered active US service in 1981 and is used by militaries in 30 countries.

The missiles used by the Stinger are infrared homing missiles, meaning they track heat-generating targets. Infrared radiation is emitted by hot bodies, such as aircraft and helicopter engines.

5. AGM-88 HARM

HARM anti-radar missiles destroyed many Russian anti-aircraft and radar systems. The weapons were adapted to be launched from MiG-29 aircraft, which lack modern electronics, in record time.

HARM has a range of several tens of kilometers, so the aircraft launching the missile can stay at a safe distance from enemy anti-aircraft systems.

Other powerful systems used by Ukraine worth mentioning are the Harpoon anti-ship missile, the German IRIS-T SLM and Gepard anti-aircraft systems or the Switchblade suicide drones.

Photo: Profimedia Images, Wikimedia

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