Ukraine ‘beats’ Russians with ‘freshly’ produced 120mm mortar bombs
KYIV, UKRAINE — There are reports that the first Ukrainian 120mm mortar bombs are already at the front. For Ukraine, this is essential news. We know that from the announcement of an arms delivery to its implementation, time passes, which is not in favor of the Ukrainian resistance. Therefore, “freshly” produced weapons, especially when they are local, are a “breath of fresh air” for the armed forces of Ukraine.
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According to Ukrainian media reports, citing Twitter profiles that mainly monitor arms deliveries to Ukraine, the first Ukrainian-made 120mm NATO-standard mortar bombs have already arrived in the firing line. They are already being used in battles against the Russian armed forces.
The production of 120mm mortar bombs was announced at the beginning of February this year. BulgarianMilitary.com reported on this production on February 10. According to reports, production is taking place outside the territory of Ukraine.
Production outside Ukraine
BulgarianMilitary.com suggests that the Czech Republic may have harbored part of the Ukrainian military production complex. At least for this country, there is clear and public evidence. They became clear on November 19 last year, when the two countries announced the signing of an agreement on the joint production of military equipment and ammunition.
Then the press release came from UkrOboronProm. It is assumed that this company (the largest military company in Ukraine) exported part of its production abroad.
Up to 250-meter strike
The new 120mm mortar bombs can deal damage up to 250 meters. At least that’s the distance the bomb fragments are thought to fly. Otherwise, ammunition is highly effective in a radius of 25 meters – 60 meters. In addition to ground manpower, this bomb can damage ground vehicles and lightly armored vehicles.
Ukraine received delivery of mortars from several European countries, including the largest donors from North America – the USA and Canada. The mini-throwers delivered to Ukraine can hit at a distance of up to 7 kilometers. With the new ammunition and the existing Western mortars, this part of the mobile artillery of the Ukrainian army will definitely increase its combat capability. According to various reports, mortars are the most common artillery systems among the Ukrainian armed forces.
Against the background of the good news for Ukraine about the first “freshly” produced mortar bombs, we must note the existing problems.
First is the amount of artillery shells fired. BulgarianMilitary.com reported in early February that at least 6,000 artillery shells were being fired by Ukraine’s armed forces per day. This, compared to the Russian daily expended shells, is very little. The Russians shoot at least 5-6 times more than the Ukrainians.
Another problem is, of course, the delivery time. The Ukrainian production has become fast, but will it be able to maintain this pace. In Europe, there is a shortage of critical raw materials for some explosives. This is what Mr. Morten Brandzeg said a month and a half ago through the Financial Times newspaper. Such a shortage will inevitably affect Ukrainian production.
A third problem is the capacity of factories in Europe. British arms company Chemring, for example, said its production was not suited to the scale of a war like the one in Ukraine. If it will have to meet the Ukrainian requirements, Chemring will have to build new production lines. This also takes time.
Not just 120mm ammunition
Ukraine produces outside the country not only 120mm ammunition. Before the launch of these mortar bombs, Ukraine began export production of 82mm mortar fragmentation projectiles. This happened a month before the start of production of 120mm ammunition. I.e. in January 2023.
UkrOboronProm is also a manufacturer of this ammunition. BulgarianMilitary.com has more information about him. For example, tests conducted have shown recorded fragments 2-2.5 times more than a standard projectile.
Also, the number of rebound fragments at different distances is different. The more the distance increases, the more the number of fragments decreases, which is completely logical. Specifically for this Ukrainian 82mm ammunition, the data are as follows: at 5 meters the offsets are 198 units, at 10 meters they are 70 units, and at 15 meters they are 41 units. The operational range of the projectile according to the mortar varies from 4,000 meters to 4,500 meters.
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