Italian weapons to the Ukrainians: stock funds (and short memory)

(To Tiziano Ciocchetti)
06/04/22

These days Ukrainian fighters are receiving arms supplies from NATO and other Western European countries, such as Sweden and Finland.

As our readers know, Italy is also supporting the Ukrainian resistance, providing non-lethal equipment, such as bulletproof vests, helmets, night vision goggles, but also armaments. In fact, we are emptying the warehouses of all those weapons that are no longer used even in exercises. Ukrainians are receiving Browning M-2 heavy machine guns, MG-42/59 light machine guns, Panzerfaust 3 rocket launchers and MILAN wire-guided counter-tank missiles. These are older generation models, certainly not the updated ones, which entered service in the armies of France, Germany and the United Kingdom between the 80s and 90s of the last century, equipped with an improved HEAT warhead. Given their obsolete guidance system (SACLOS) they have the defect of exposing the operator and being vulnerable to infrared jammers.

On the other hand, it could not be otherwise, modern equipment is used by our Army, so we could hardly send the Spike MR / LR counter-tank missiles or the CAMM-ERs that still have to enter service. After thirty years of "great illusion", where it was believed that conventional wars were only a thing of the past, we are now realizing that we spend little and badly in defense. We have neglected the fundamental components of a modern army, such as artillery and tanks, recycling tankers and gunners as reserve infantry.

Leaving aside the conditions of the armored component, which we have talked about extensively in previous articles, the single-tube artillery is equipped with obsolete pieces (70/155 mm FH-39), with barrels now worn out for over 40 years of use. A few years ago the SME reintroduced the 56/105 mm OTO 14 resembling howitzer (the 3rd rgt mountain art. Julia was the first department to reintroduce it). A glorious weapon that conceptually dates back to 65 years ago and therefore should be replaced as soon as possible: in the Army's acquisition plans there is talk of a 105 mm howitzer of national manufacture or purchased abroad (perhaps the howitzer lightweight English L119).

The enthusiasm of the current government majority in supplying arms to Ukraine clashes not a little when compared to just two and a half years ago, when the then Libyan prime minister al-Sarraj, head of the government of Tripoli recognized by the international community, asked for weapons to the executive Conte bis to defend itself from the aggression of General Haftar.

Evidently, then, the only way was "the diplomatic one" (as Minister Di Maio often repeated), only to see the Turks who, with minimal effort, resolved the situation manu militari.

Photo: web / Italian Army

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