By Kirilo Sakhniuk, Freelance Journalist
Submitted on January 23, 2023
Weapons Beta Test: who and how benefits from the war in Ukraine
A US official told CNN they have moved “some” of the 300,000 155-millimeter shells that the US and Israel agreed would be transferred, and that there are plans to move the remaining amount in the coming weeks.
The real-world battle testing
“Ukraine is absolutely a weapons lab in every sense because none of this equipment has ever actually been used in a war between two industrially developed nations. This is real-world battle testing,” said one source familiar with Western intelligence.
For the US military, the war in Ukraine has been an incredible source of data on the utility of its own systems. The US has also closely studied the conflict for larger lessons on how a war between two modern nations might be waged in the 21st century.
For Western Weapons, the Ukraine War Is a Beta Test
Before the war the AFU had an impressive number of MLRS – up to 500 Soviet Grad, Hurricane, Tornado, as well as their Ukrainian copies Bastion, Typhoon and Verba, and, it seems, there was no need for American systems. But the Pentagon is pressing need in testing its weapons in large-scale combat operations with an equal opponent. Because there is enough experience in colonial wars.
“We’re learning in Ukraine how to fight, and we’re learning how to use our NATO equipment,” said a former Lithuanian president Ms. Grybauskaite.
Then she added: “It is shameful” that Ukrainians “are paying with their lives for these exercises for us.”
But why be ashamed? No one has provided stronger support to belligerent state before. Moreover, Ukraine is not being forced to “pay the bill” yet.
According to the New York Times, the weapons tests in Ukraine “help senior officials and defense planners in the United States and its allies decide how to invest in military spending over the next two decades.” This is also noted by Ukrainian politicians.
“Ukraine is the best test ground, as we have the opportunity to test all hypotheses in battle and introduce revolutionary change in military tech and modern warfare,” said Mykhailo Fedorov, Ukraine’s vice prime minister and minister of digital transformation.
There has not been a military conflict like this since the Second World War, with tank battles, massive use of artillery and missile strikes. The Russian army consistently ranks as a potential adversary for the entire NATO bloc. Therefore, the American military, who are periodically present in Ukraine, carefully study the experience of using their military equipment, identifying strengths and weaknesses.
However, in order for military support to be able to influence the course of hostilities, it is not enough – there are few launchers, few missiles, and the repair and maintenance infrastructure is completely absent. The strain on weapons stockpiles – and the ability of the US industrial base to keep up with demand – is one of the key challenges facing the Biden administration.
CNN previously reported that stockpiles of certain systems are “dwindling” after months of sending supplies to Kyiv during the high-intensity war, as there’s “finite amount” of excess stocks which the US has available to send.