Ukraine Situation Report: Defense Chief Wants Advanced Weapons Testing Against Russians

Ukraine is openly offering itself as a venue for NATO allies to donate and demonstrate advanced weaponry in real-world combat scenarios. The countries would then benefit from the combat experience of Ukrainian soldiers using those weapons against Russian forces, according to Ukraine Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov.

Ukraine “is essentially a testing ground,” Reznikov said on July 19 during a live webcast conversation with John Herbst, senior director of the Atlantic Council’s Eurasia Center. The entire interview can be viewed in the below video.

“Many weapons are now getting tested in the field in the real conditions of the battle against the Russian Army, which has plenty of modern systems of its own,” Reznikov said. “It has electronic warfare and signals intelligence tools, air defenses, cruise missiles and ballistic missiles, among other equipment.”

Ukraine is employing Western weapons like High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS), Polish Krab 155mm artillery systems, and shoulder-fired air-defense missiles and anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs) against a near-peer adversary. It also is gathering information on the performance and effectiveness of those and other systems and sharing that data with both weapons manufacturers and the nations that donated them to Ukraine, Reznikov said. 

“We are interested in testing modern systems in the fight against the enemy and we are inviting arms manufacturers to test the new products here,” he said. “Some kinds of different equipment just are starting in our battlefield, for example, Polish Krab artillery systems. It’s a really organic unit, but they are distinct in this Russian-Ukrainian war. So, I think for our partners in Poland, in the United States, France, or Germany, it’s a good chance to test the equipment. So, give us the tools. We will finish the job and you will have all the new information.”

Powerful nations using conflicts to test military equipment in real-world scenarios is nothing new. The U.S. military demonstrated precision-guided munitions to the world in the 1990-1991 Gulf War. Nazi Germany infamously exploited the Spanish Civil War in the 1930s to test its newly developed tanks and aircraft, as well as refine the Blitzkrieg tactics it would later use to conquer most of mainland Europe. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were used to prove new technologies and tactics, while for Russia, Syria’s civil war became both a proving ground and weapons demonstration arena for export opportunities. 

The situation in Ukraine isn’t identical to any of these scenarios, but it is providing the United States a venue to test higher-end military technology against a somewhat sophisticated enemy. This is an opportunity that hasn’t been afforded to it over the past two decades of fighting global terrorism and insurgent wars in the Middle East and Asia.

Reznikov said he is confident that the U.S. and other NATO nations will supply Ukraine with weapons of increasing range as the Ukrainian Army continues to show its proficiency at employing the weapons it has. While U.S. political rhetoric still rules out weapons capable of striking well beyond Russia’s border with Ukraine, the U.S. has already greatly expanded the types of weapons it is sending Ukraine, Reznikov said. 

“These decisions will come easier after our partners are sure that we fulfill every obligation and effectively use all the equipment we have already received,” he said. “In November 2021, I was told in Washington, D.C., that we would never get Stingers because that simply wasn’t possible. It was so forbidden by the law. That story was repeated over and over again.”

Ukraine has indeed received significant quantities — well over 1,400 — of Stinger man-portable air-defense systems (MANPADS) and used them to devastating effect against Russian aircraft. Thousands of other MANPADS have been donated by other countries, as well. The U.S. government then included M777 towed howitzers in military aid packages to Ukraine followed by HIMARS and then more recently promised Kyiv two National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems, or NASAMS ground-based air defense systems, Reznikov pointed out.

“Therefore I remain optimistic,” Reznikov said. “Ukrainians will be very grateful for your help receiving weapons of this type. For me, the word impossible means possible in the future.”

Before we dive into what has transpired in the last 24 hours in Ukraine, catch up on our previous rolling coverage of the war here.

The Latest

Another aircraft was shot down over Lyubimovka, in Kherson Oblast, though it was not immediately clear what aircraft was hit or which side it belonged to. Ukrainian officials claim it was a Russian Su-35 Flanker, one of Russia’s most advanced twin-engine fighters. Several videos have emerged of the aircraft exploding mid-air and spinning to the ground. 

Russia has claimed that a drone was shot down, but other videos show the aftermath of the crash from afar and what appears to be the pilot, after ejecting, floating to earth with a parachute. The presence of a pilot confirms the aircraft was a manned airplane and not a drone. 

A Russian Mi-24/35 Hind-type helicopter later was seen flying over the apparent crash site, perhaps searching for the ejected pilot. The Mi-24/35 series is unique in that it has a passenger compartment and can provide end-to-end combat search and rescue missions without other types of helicopters, under some circumstances You can read all about this capability here.

Russian chatter on social media and messaging site Telegram suggests the shootdown was yet another friendly fire incident, one day after Russian air defenses appear to have shot down their own Su-34 strike fighter.

https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/ukraine-situation-report-defense-chief-wants-advanced-weapons-testing-against-russians

4 comments

  1. “So, I think for our partners in Poland, in the United States, France, or Germany, it’s a good chance to test the equipment. So, give us the tools. We will finish the job and you will have all the new information.”

    That’s a very good offer! War has been, is, and always will be the best testing ground for new/improved weapons.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I believe the US is experimenting with Sonic and ultrasonic weapons (USW). I’d love them to be deployed on the orcs. Provided of course it can be directed in a tight beam that does not affect innocent civilians.

      Liked by 3 people

  2. “Many weapons are now getting tested in the field in the real conditions of the battle against the Russian Army, which has plenty of modern systems of its own,”

    Too bad those advanced weapons aren’t really Russian, but highly dependent on supplies from the west to build new weapons.

    Liked by 2 people

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