Ukraine conflict: EU countries pledge small arms, anti-tank weapons to Ukraine

by Amael Kotlarski

The Ukrainian military is set to receive further NLAW anti-tank weapons, having initially been equipped with systems by the UK. (Gaelle Girbes/Getty Images)

European Union (EU) members have announced a range of military assistance packages to support Ukraine, with a range of small arms and light weapons (SALW) included.

A mix of anti-tank weapons are set to be supplied by several countries. Luxembourg has pledged 100 Next-Generation Light Anti-Tank Weapons (NLAWs), which will bolster the 2,000 sent by the UK in January.

The Panzerfaust 3 anti-tank weapon has been offered by Germany, the Netherlands, and likely Italy as well. The Netherlands has stated that it will send 50 launchers and 400 rounds of ammunition, while Germany has announced it would be sending 1,000 systems alongside 500 Stinger manportable air-defence missiles.

Although not confirmed as the Panzerfaust 3, the 1,000 anti-tank weapons pledged by Italy are likely to be of this type, coincidentally the Italian Ministry of Defence announced an order for new DM12 rounds on 25 February. Italy has also said it will supply 500 Stinger missiles.

Ukraine is set to receive a large number of single-shot, disposable anti-tank weapons. On 28 February, the Swedish government announced it would be sending 5,000 84 mm AT4 anti-tank weapons, while Norway said it would provide 2,000 66 mm M72 Light Anti-tank Weapons (LAWs).

Denmark and Finland also pledged to send 2,700 and 1,500 anti-tank weapons respectively. Although neither country specified the type of weapons, Janes believes these could include the M72EC from Denmark and M72A2/A5 from Finland. Denmark could also send AT4s, and Finland, the Armor-Piercing Infantry Light Arm System (APILAS), which the country has been slowly replacing with NLAWs. The APILAS fires a much larger and heavier 112 mm munition.

Belgium has pledged 200 anti-tank weapons, which could either be M72 LAWs, 90 mm RGW 90s, or a mix of both.

Small arms and associated ammunition have also been promised. Belgium has said it will send over 5,000 assault rifles, with at least 2,000 being older FN FNC types that the country is replacing with more modern FN SCAR rifles.

Portugal has announced that it will supply an undisclosed number of 7.62 mm G3 type rifles – locally produced as the m/963.

Among the small arms promised by Italy are heavy and medium machine guns, plus ammunition. These are likely to include the 12.7 mm M2 heavy machine gun and the 7.62 MG42/59.

The Czech Republic, Poland, and Slovakia have also announced that they will be sending small arms and ammunition that are likely to be drawn from stocks of Cold War-era weaponry that are chambered for Soviet calibres, which are predominantly used by the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

The UK and the US have also pledged to send additional weapons, which are likely to include NLAWs and Javelin systems to replace those fired or lost during the fighting. Denmark has offered components for Stinger systems.

Royal Thai Navy unveils FK-3 air-defence system

by Kapil Kajal

The FK-3 air-defence system, an example pictured above in service with the Serbian Armed Forces, was unveiled by the Royal Thai Navy's Air and Coastal Defence Command. The FK-3 is the export variant of China's HQ-22 medium- to long-range semi-active radar homing/radio command guidance air-defence system. (Serbian MoD)

The Royal Thai Navy (RTN) has unveiled its Chinese-made FK-3 air-defence system during a visit by Commander-in-Chief Admiral Choengchai Chomchoengphaet to the Air and Coastal Defense Command (ACDC) stationed in Chonburi province.

In a social media post shared by the RTN, the service was seen displaying the weapon to Adm Chomchoengphaet. The FK-3 is manufactured by China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation Limited (CASIC).

The FK-3 is the export variant of the CASIC's HQ-22 medium- to long-range semi-active radar homing/radio command guidance air-defence system. It retains the domestic version's top speed of Mach 6, although its maximum range of 100 km is significantly shorter than the Chinese HQ-22's maximum range of 170 km.

The FK-3 was inducted into the RTN in 2022 and serves as an offensive combat missile and an air-defence shield.

According to Janes Intelligence Review,

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Sweden orders 20 more Mjölner CV90 mortar variants

by Nicholas Fiorenza

The FMV and BAE Systems have signed a contract for 20 more Grkpbv 90 mortar systems for the Swedish Army. (BAE Systems)

The Swedish Defence Materiel Administration (FMV) and BAE Systems announced on 27 January that they had signed a contract modification for 20 more Granatkastarpansarbandvagn 90 (Grkpbv 90) self-propelled mortars for the Swedish Army. The FMV valued the contract at approximately SEK293.5 million (USD28 million) and expects deliveries to take place in 2025.

The contract was awarded to BAE Systems' Swedish joint venture Utveckling, which combines BAE Systems' Hägglunds and Bofors manufacturing capabilities, with production to take place at BAE Systems Hägglunds in Örnsköldsvik, Sweden.

The Swedish Armed Forces already operate 40 Grkpbv 90 systems delivered in 2019–21 under a previous contract, and another 20 were ordered in February 2022 for delivery in 2023–25. The FMV also ordered the integration of the Swedish Army's new LSS Mark command support system into all 60 Grkpbv 90s in 2023–25.

The Grkpbv 90 provides Swedish mechanised battalions with indirect fire support.

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IAV 2023: Elbit presents Crossbow turreted mortar

by Nicholas Fiorenza

Elbit presented the Crossbow 120 mm turreted mortar system at IAV 2023. (Elbit Systems)

Elbit Systems presented the Crossbow 120 mm turreted mortar at Defence IQ's International Armoured Vehicles (IAV) 2023 conference being held in London from 23 to 26 January.

The weapon can be installed in a mission module with minimal protrusion, can be easily operated by a single crew member, and is fuzed for fully automatic operation, according to Elbit.

It can fire the company's range of mortar rounds, including those with an extended range and precision guidance. It has a range of 10 km and a rate of fire exceeding 12 rds/min, achieving 16 rounds for the first minute, an Elbit representative told Janes on 23 January. Crossbow is designed to be fired on the move and to shoot and scoot with a multiple round simultaneous impact (MRSI) capability.

A second Elbit representative said it was developed over the last three years based on Elbit's experience in ammunition, fuzes, fire control, and command, control, communications, computers, and intelligence (C4I) integration. It is scheduled to enter service in 2024 with the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), which financed its development.

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