Fighting in the Ukraine war is stretching into its fifth week. That is about four weeks longer than anyone thought the Ukrainians would last. The Russian’s are discovering that an army is highly motivated when it is defending its own homeland. The frozen muddy terrain has proven difficult for the Russian tracked vehicles to navigate and the block-by-block city fighting has been brutal for both sides.
One of the reasons for the success of the Ukrainians is that they were well armed with modern NATO weaponry when the war began. Most notably, the American Javelin missile has been wreaking havoc on Russian armor.
In every war up until this one, portable antitank weapons were inaccurate and underpowered. The Javelin missile allows an individual soldier to take on a tank on his own, and live. Modern weapons like this have allowed the Ukrainians to not only stay in the fight but hold their own against the Russian onslaught.
As Russia gears up to send more men into the fray, NATO and its partners have added two new weapons to Ukraine arsenal to help even the odds. The British are sending their lethal Starstreak Man Portable Air Defense System (MANPADS) for help in controlling the airspace over the battlefield. The system can reliably destroy helicopters and fixed wing aircraft under 15,000 feet (about 4.57 km).
The United States is sending its suicide switchblade drone. The drone can loiter over the battlespace until the best target is acquired. Once the decision to attack is made, the drone does a kamikaze dive crashing into the target to destroy it.
These weapons are sure to ruin the day of many Russian soldiers. If the war in Ukraine is showing the world anything, it is an example of how a small force with modern weapons can not only survive against a larger foe but thrive. The war is costing Russian Vladimir Putin much more than he bargained for. It is too soon to tell if this war will end like the Afghan war did for the Russians in the 80’s but it certainly is trending that way.