What weapon would Ukraine love to get its hands on to fight Russia? The U.S. military has provided its Ukrainian counterparts with weapon systems worth billions of dollars. From the FGM-148 Javelin anti-tank missile to the M-777 155mm Howitzer to the Switchblade 300 loitering munition to the M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS), the Pentagon has sent Ukraine weapon systems that have changed to course of the war.
But the Ukrainians are still asking for more to counter the ongoing Russian attempts to occupy large chunks of their country. What follows is a list of three weapon systems that Ukraine would love to get from America.
However, it is important to highlight that this is a hypothetical “wishlist,” and there is no evidence whatsoever that the U.S. military is considering sending the following weapon systems to Ukraine or indeed that the Ukrainian military has the capacity to receive or the capabilities to operate them.
Right now, the war in Ukraine is all about artillery. The Ukrainian forces have managed to negate much of Moscow’s armored and numbers advantage. As a result, the Russian military was forced to shift tactics and is now employing long-range fires to soften up Ukrainian positions before committing tanks and mechanized infantry. This change in tactics has been a success, with the Russian forces advancing, even if slowly. Despite receiving close to 200 artillery pieces of all types from the West, the Ukrainian military is losing the artillery battle. So, added long-range fires would really help the Ukrainians. Enter the AC-130—artillery with a twist.
The AC-130 specializes in close air support, air interdiction, armed reconnaissance, combat search and rescue, and forward air control. The gunship has an operational range of 3,000 miles and can stay on target for long periods of time, especially if it is refueled mid-air during a sortie.
The AC-130 is essentially an aerial artillery platform. The gunship uses the “pylon turn” technique to fly in a wide circle above the target and dish out a steady volume of fire without the need to turn and come back again from a different angle of attack.
The AC-130 is a formidable aircraft. The AC-130J Ghostrider, the latest version of the gunship, is outfitted with a 30mm and 105mm cannons and also has the ability to deploy smart munitions (GBU-39 Small Diameter Bomb and the AGM-114 Hellfire and AGM-176 Griffin missiles).
Another weapon system that the Ukrainians could use is the MQ-9 Reaper drone. A remotely piloted aircraft, the MQ-9 specializes in three mission sets: precision strikes, close air support, and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR).
The MQ-9 drone can stay above the target for hours on end and can feed intelligence back to headquarters or to commanders on the ground besides launching precise strikes against enemy positions.
Ukraine is already using unmanned aerial vehicles to great effect. Ukrainian TB2 Bayraktar drones have sunk Russian warships and destroyed armored columns.
The last weapon system that could really help Ukraine is the M-109 Paladin self-propelled howitzer. Armed with the M284 155mm Howitzer and an M2 Browing 0.50 heavy machine gun on the top of the vehicle, the M109 Paladin is essentially a big gun on a mobile platform.
With the ability to fire eight rounds per minute (max rate), the M-109 Paladin can reach targets up to 25 miles away, depending on the munition it uses.
Equally important, the M109 Paladin can fire a round only within a minute of stopping and acquiring its target, making it highly mobile and able to conduct “shoot and scoot” fire missions, thus avoiding counter-artillery fire.
The M-109 Paladin can pack a maximum of 93 rounds.
1945’s New Defense and National Security Columnist, Stavros Atlamazoglou is a seasoned defense journalist specializing in special operations, a Hellenic Army veteran (national service with the 575th Marine Battalion and Army HQ), and a Johns Hopkins University graduate. His work has been featured in Business Insider, Sandboxx, and SOFREP.