The Ukrainian military continues to ask for long-range munitions to target Russian troop concentrations and logistical nodes behind the frontlines.
Although the United States continues to deny the Ukrainian demands, other Western countries seem more willing to provide Ukraine with long-range munitions.
Sourcing for Long-Range Munitions
The United Kingdom and its partners might have the solution for the Ukrainian demand.
Led and administered by the United Kingdom, the International Fund for Ukraine (IFU) is a funding mechanism that uses money from international partners to procure weapon systems for Ukraine at a priority pace.
Besides the U.K., Norway, Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, and Lithuania have joined the IFU and have provided close to $650 million in support of Ukraine in just a few months.
“[The IFU will] ensure the continued supply of military support – lethal and non-lethal – to Ukraine through 2023 and beyond,” the British Ministry of Defense states.
Back in January, the IFU launched “Urgent Bidding Round 1” to provide Ukraine with direly needed capability. Now, the U.K.-led coalition of countries has launched “Urgent Bidding Round 2.” Defense companies and suppliers from across the world are invited to express interest in three capabilities: mobility support, long-range strike, and aid defense.
In the long-range strike capability section, the IFU is looking for offers for long-range missiles or rockets with a range of between 60 and 190 miles. The capability requirement concerns munitions that can be launched from land, sea, and air, and they must have a payload of between 45 to 1,080 lbs.
In addition, the IFU is looking for weapons systems and munitions that have a low probability of interception, assured navigation even under attack by advanced electronic warfare countermeasures, and air defense penetration.
Ukraine has been looking for a long-range munition for months. And the U.S. military has exactly what Ukraine wants.
The ATACMS Saga
Ukraine has specifically asked for the MGM-140 Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS), a ground-to-ground missile that can be fired from the M142 HIMARS or M270 MLRS and can strike targets up to 190 miles. However, the United States has repeatedly refused to supply the Ukrainian military with precision-guided munition for a variety of reasons.
In the initial Ukrainian approaches, Washington refused because it thought the ATACMS would be seen as an escalation by the Kremlin. But then, the Pentagon said that it is experiencing a shortage of ATACMS and can’t spare sending any to Ukraine.
The Ukrainians have shown a tendency to attack targets with military value within Russia (even close to Moscow, prompting the Russians to install air defenses in the Kremlin). But Kyiv has also shown restraint, especially when asked by the U.S., as the Pentagon leaks suggest.
However, ATACMS seems to be out of the picture, at least for now. So, Ukraine has to make do with what it has and what the IFU will procure for Kyiv.
A 19FortyFive 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.