Canada will supply Ukraine with M982 Excalibur extended range guided artillery rounds, CBC reported on April 23, citing Canadian defense sources.
The guided artillery rounds are a part of a military aid package that also includes four relatively new M-777 155 mm towed howitzers and an unspecified amount of unguided shells. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau revealed the plan to ship what he called “heavy artillery” early on in the week, but didn’t elaborate.
“Their most recent ask was exactly for that, for heavy artillery, for reasons of operational security,” Trudeau said on Wednesday. “I can’t go into the details at this point on how and what we’re getting to them exactly.”
The M777 howitzer has a maximum rate of fire of seven rounds per minute with a range of up to 40 kilometers when firing Excalibur rounds. The howitzers that will be shipped to Ukraine will come from the 1st Regiment, Royal Canadian Horse Artillery. They are a part of 37 howitzers Canada purchased during the Afghan.
The Excalibur round, which was developed by BAE Systems and Raytheon, has a CEP [circular error probable] of less than 4 meters. This accuracy is achieved via guidance system built around a GPS-aided inertial navigation system. The guidance system dependence on GPS makes it vulnerable to jamming.
Each Excalibur round costs around about $112,000. The rounds that will be supplied to Ukrainian forces are also left over from the Afghan war.
The Canadian military aid package is a part of a broader Western efforts to rebuild the offensive capabilities of Ukrainian forces. So far, Western states have supplied or promised to supply Kiev with more than 200 different artillery pieces as follows:
- Estonia: nine D-30 122 mm towed howitzers;
- The US: 90 M777 155 mm towed howitzers;
- Canada: Four howitzers M777 155 mm towed howitzers;
- Czech: more than 20 DANA M1 and DANA M2 152 mm self-propelled howitzers;
- Slovakia: 18 Zuzana 155 mm self-propelled howitzers;
- Poland: more than 20 2S1 Gvozdika 122 mm self-propelled howitzers;
- Netherlands: 24 Panzerhaubitze 2000 155 mm self-propelled howitzers;
- France: 12 CAESAR 155 mm self-propelled howitzers;
- Belgium: 24 M109A4BE 155 mm self-propelled howitzers.
The West attempt to rebuild the offensive capability of Kiev may be meant to help launch a counter-attack in the Donbass region, where the Russian military and the armed forces of Donetsk People’s Republic and the Luhansk People’s Republic have been advancing for more than two months now.
Western-supplied artillery systems will not likely provide enough fire power to turn the table in favor of Kiev, even if they were all delivered successfully. The Russian military has been hunting down Western weapon shipments to Ukraine since the beginning of its special operation there with much success.
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