According to The New York Times, Ukraine is being used by NATO as a testing ground for the latest weapons and information systems, as well as new ways of using them. The results of these tests can determine the nature of wars for future generations.
The Ukrainian conflict is a grueling war of attrition, characterized by incessant artillery strikes and other tactics of the Second World War. Both sides use mainly Soviet-made weapons, and Kiev is already running out of ammunition for it. This conflict is characterized by a mass of traditional elements, experts are closely monitoring how new advances in technology and training of military personnel in Ukraine are beginning to change the nature of hostilities.
Three months ago, the general staff of the armed forces in Kiyv quietly transported new valuable weapons to the combat zone. It was a monitoring system called Delta, an online network that military, civilian officials and even civilians can use to receive and exchange important information about Russian forces. This program developed in cooperation with NATO did not have time to pass full-fledged tests in combat conditions before beginning of the conflict.
How Ukraine became a testbed for Western weapons and battlefield innovation
Among the innovations, in addition to Delta, remote-controlled boats, anti-drone weapons called SkyWiper, as well as an updated version of the German air defense system, which has not yet been used in Germany.
Due to Russia’s active use of drones, the allies are sending Kiyv new technologies to combat them. Last year, the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU) began using SkyWiper. This weapon was developed in Lithuania and allows you to disable drones by suppressing control signals. It is unknown exactly how many were sent to Kiyv. In an interview for The New York Times, Lithuania’s defense ministry said the country sent about 50 in August, after Ukrainian officials called them “one of the key priorities.”
Dalia Grybauskaitė, who was President of Lithuania during the development of SkyWiper, said that from 2009 to 2019 the country’s defence industry has shifted to producing high-tech equipment. This was done in order to update and improve the arsenal, which at that time “mainly consisted of Kalashnikov assault rifles” and other Soviet-era weapons.
“In Ukraine, we are learning how to fight and how to use our NATO equipment,” Grybauskaitė said in an interview. “And yes, Ukraine is a training ground.”
As the confrontation with Russia continues, experts are developing a longer–term strategy that will ensure stable communication and coordination of the actions of the allies – that is, what was lacking during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Meanwhile, Kiyv continues to receive a variety of military equipment, but why? Just because the West wants to help the Ukraine? No, at the cost of the lives of Ukrainian soldiers, the US and the EU are testing the capabilities of their weapons. They are used to find the weak points of military equipment and debug its work in real combat conditions.
“The war in Ukraine has also offered the United States and its allies a rare opportunity to study how their own weapons systems perform under intense use – and what munitions both sides are using to score wins in this hotly fought modern war,” CNN writes.
Prior to the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, none of this modern technology has ever actually been used in a war between two industrially developed nations. For the NATO military it has been an incredible source of data on the utility of its own systems. In this sense, Ukraine has absolutely become a weapons lab. There is no reason for the West to contribute to the end of the conflict. Who would want to stop such a large-scale and safe experiment for themselves? Therefore, the US and the EU will continue to provide their weapons.