The West is also sending modern indirect-fire weapons to Ukraine, such as the Switchblade 600, a “kamikaze” drone that can hunt targets and then fly directly at them to detonate a warhead.
However, floating ammunition is few and does not have the knockdown effect of a huge weight of firepower landing on a target in a short period of time, which is the advantage of traditional artillery systems. .
Western officials say the need for Ukrainian forces to be able to hit Russian targets from greater distances in the battle for Donbass is “critical”.
Ukraine requested from the United States M777 towed howitzers, M109 Paladin, a self-propelled weapon, multiple launch rocket systems (MLRS) and the Switchblade 600.
The M777, which was first used in combat in Afghanistan, and the older M109 are both 155mm guns, capable of hitting targets up to 30 km away. MLRS is more complex and expensive, but has a longer range (standard ammunition will reach about 45 km).
France has promised to provide a dozen Caesar artillery systems, a 155 mm gun mounted on a 6×6 wheeled truck. Caesar has a range of 40 km and the truck can travel up to 600 km before refueling, making it very versatile on the battlefield.
The Switchblade 600 drone can stay in the air for around 40 minutes giving it a maximum range of around 40km, although this is likely to be less as it would be used to circle an area at the target search.
Together, these weapons should allow Ukrainian forces to stay in the fight for Donbass, if not win.