The most significant addition to the Ukrainian
arsenal during the observed period is American
cluster munitions. The announcement of their
delivery sparked controversial reactions.
Cluster munitions consist of a large number of
submunitions that disperse in the air and cover
a wide area. A relatively high percentage of
these submunitions, however, fail to detonate
immediately. On the ground, they pose a danger
to civilians for many years after the war. This
led to the creation of the Convention on Cluster
Munitions in 2008, which prohibits the use and
production of such weapons. To this day, 123
states have signed it, but Russia, the USA, and
Ukraine are not among them.
Russia deployed cluster munitions from
the first day of the war, and their use against
targets such as apartment complexes in
Kharkiv is documented not only by numerous
videos but also by UN reports. Ukraine likely
deployed cluster munitions from old Soviet
stocks in a smaller quantity. The country has
now committed to using American cluster
munitions only on its own territory and solely
against military targets, refraining from
using them in populated areas. Each use will
be documented to aid in locating unexploded
submunitions. This is not a problem, considering
the densely mined battlefield; demining efforts
will be essential once the conflict ends.
Ukraine needs cluster munitions to bridge
the gap until it can increase the production and
supply of conventional artillery ammunition.
One projectile with submunitions can replace
a larger number of shots from howitzers or
mortars. The USA has several types of cluster
munitions for howitzers, rocket launchers, and
aircraft. Ukraine received 155 mm howitzer
grenades. The M483A1 shell contains 88
submunitions, and the M864 shell with longer
range contains 76 submunitions. These are
dual-purpose improved conventional munitions
(DPICM) that can be effective against both
infantry and vehicles. Their development
focused primarily on minimizing malfunctions.
The munitions were deployed in combat almost
immediately and proved highly effective in
halting Russian counterattack attempts.
Turkish SARP Dual system on M113 vehicle.
Czech MR-2 Viktor systems proved their worth in the fight against suicide drones in Ukraine.
Machine Guns Against Drones
Through the destruction of Russian
ammunition depots and the suppression of
artillery radars with HARM missiles, Ukraine
managed to establish local artillery superiority
on the southern front in the Zaporizhzhia
region. The Russians are unable to destroy
Ukrainian howitzers with retaliatory artillery
fire, so they began to address this deficiency
by increasing the use of suicide drones like
the Lancet. This prompted the deployment of