Russia Has Adapted to HIMARS, But New Storm Shadow Missiles Received by Ukraine Could Reinstill Fear in Putin’s Forces

The Ukrainian military has received Storm Shadow missiles from the UK and is already using the new weapon, which significantly boosts Kiev’s long-range strike capabilities.

Russian forces have already adapted to game-changing weapons that Ukraine introduced to the war last year, such as the US-supplied High Mobility Artillery Missile System (HIMARS). Military experts say the Storm Shadow missiles could spark new logistical headaches for Russia, giving Kiev a massive ability to strike fear into Moscow’s commanders who thought they were safe.

“It will have a terrible effect on the morale of the Russian forces and the officers and commanders who will be operating in Ukraine,” George Barros, a Russia analyst at the Institute for the Study of War (ISW), told Insider.

Britain earlier this month announced plans to supply Ukraine with the Storm Shadow, an air-launched cruise missile developed in partnership with France that has been used in combat in various conflicts in the Middle East. When released from an aircraft, these missiles then fly at a low altitude and avoid detection.

With an operational range of 250 kilometers, the Storm Shadow will triple the range of Ukraine’s strike capabilities.

From the first weeks of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, and even now, Kremlin forces have relied on a tactic of launching massive artillery barrages to destroy Ukrainian positions and then advancing through rubble. When this was not possible, they sent human waves into urban environments to make territorial gains at high cost.

When HIMARS arrived in Ukraine nearly a year ago, they quickly became highly revered by Kiev forces. These truck-mounted and highly mobile systems have been used to carry out precision strikes on Russian command posts, ammunition depots and bridges and have been hailed by experts as a “game-changing” weapon.

Ukraine used HIMARS to degrade the effectiveness of Russia’s battlefield tactics, which depended heavily on Moscow’s ability to store massive amounts of artillery shells near the front line to sustain a high rate of fire, ISW analyst Barros said. . To mitigate their new problem, Russian forces had to move their munitions to the rear out of range of the HIMARS to prevent its destruction.

Russia has also moved key logistics centers behind the front line, relocated command and control to hardened rear structures and reorganized air defense systems, wrote Jack Watling, senior research fellow for land warfare at the Royal United Services Institute, with headquarters in London, in a recent analysis of the potential impact of Storm Shadow.

Bringing Storm Shadow to the battlefield will solve “serious tactical challenges” currently facing Ukraine, Watling wrote. The missile’s warhead is designed to penetrate hardened targets, and its stealth features will help it avoid detection and interception.

Barros said Russia’s tactics “will be further reduced” as it will require the Russians to take even tighter support and protection measures to avoid the missile’s long range. This means pushing ammunition depots and command and control centers even deeper into occupied territory and away from the front lines.

“It will degrade Russia’s overall war effort,” Barros said. “The Ukrainians are very capable of making the Russians pay.”

“Homework for their personal safety”

Beyond forcing the Russians to try again to figure out how to protect their key positions from long-range weapons strikes, Ukraine could use the Storm Shadow missiles to instill a new sense of fear in Moscow’s commanders who have previously thought to be out of range.

High-ranking Russian military officials, such as officers and commanders deep in occupied Ukrainian territory, may have previously enjoyed a sense of security knowing they were far from the front lines and beyond the range of power existing fire of Kiev.

But in an instant, Russian commanders now understand that Ukraine has the potential capability to deliver a warhead right to their location, Barros said. Needless to say, Storm Shadow poses a threat to these commanders, especially since Ukraine has already proven quite capable of taking them out, thanks in part to Moscow’s poor command and control practices.

“So the more these Russian commanders are exposed to Ukrainian strikes, I expect their survivability to decrease,” Barros said.

Watling noted that making Russian commanders “fear for their personal safety” is an effective way to degrade decision-making and priorities on the battlefield.

“Employed well, along with psychological operations and other capabilities, Storm Shadow provides countless opportunities to cognitively attack the enemy,” he said. “In this regard, their existence in Ukraine’s arsenal may be as significant as their use.”

The delivery of Storm Shadow missiles to Ukraine comes as the country prepares for the long-awaited counter-offensive, which is expected to be aimed at liberating occupied territory in the eastern and southern regions.

The recent delivery of the Storm Shadow missiles calls into question whether the Biden administration will supply Ukraine with ATACMS tactical missile systems, a much-requested weapon that has an impressive range of nearly 300 kilometers and can be launched by the HIMARS launchers that Kiev already has them.

The US could eventually send ATACMS, it wouldn’t be the first time Washington has moved to provide Ukraine with significant military aid, following its European partners. Britain confirmed earlier this year that it would send its Challenger main battle tanks to Kiev, paving the way for Germany and the Biden administration to eventually do the same with Leopard and US M1 Abrams tanks.

Source: Breaking News – Cele mai importante stiri – by

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