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US backed out of sending $100,000 Excalibur shells to Ukraine, rarely hitting targets: report

US backed out of sending $100,000 Excalibur shells to Ukraine, rarely hitting targets: report

 


The United States has halted deliveries of Excalibur long-range guided artillery shells to Ukraine after kyiv reported high failure rates, unnamed Ukrainian officials told the Washington Post.

Six months ago, Ukraine told Washington that Russia's jamming of the guidance systems of several U.S.-supplied weapons had eroded its ability to defend its territory, the officials told the Post.

The weapons most affected by the jamming were the Excalibur rounds, a GPS-guided 155mm artillery shell supplied to Ukraine, and the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System, or HIMARS.

In response, the United States simply stopped all deliveries of Excalibur shells, Ukrainian officials said.

The cost of the Excalibur has soared, according to a Government Accountability Office report, to about $100,000 per shell in 2022, up to 50 times the cost of a 155mm unguided shell, before the invasion. large-scale operation of Ukraine in 2022.

Business Insider has reached out to the US Department of Defense for comment on the matter.

At one point, only 1 out of 19 Excalibur rounds hit their target.

Two classified reports on Ukrainian weapons seen by The New York Times have since revealed the scale of the problem caused by Russian jamming.

From January to August 2023, the proportion of confirmed successful strikes with Excalibur shells fell from a high of 55% to a low of 7% in July and 6% in August. Meanwhile, Ukraine attempted to carry out its summer counter-offensive, which ultimately failed.

Researchers collected data on the use of some 3,000 Excalibur shells fired by U.S.-supplied M777 howitzers on the front lines in the southern Ukrainian city of Kherson in the city of Kharkiv in the north and the town of Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine.

According to a person familiar with the report who spoke to the Times, at one point only one in 19 Excalibur rounds was hitting its target.

One of the classified reports stated that at this rate, the price of a successful strike rose from $300,000 to $1.9 million.

When first delivered, the M982 Excalibur rounds were hailed as a game changer for Ukraine. The GPS-guided 155mm shells offered a precise, longer-range alternative to conventional artillery shells, capable of hitting within seven feet of their target.

The Excalibur has a range of 25 miles, according to 2022 Pentagon budget documents that first confirmed the rounds were sent to Ukraine.

Russian jamming also affected HIMARS missiles and glide bombs.

The HIMARS system, which can fire rockets up to 50 miles, was also hampered by Russian jamming, a Ukrainian military source told the Post.

“The Russians deployed electronic warfare, disabled satellite signals and HIMARS became completely ineffective,” the source told the Post. According to the assessment, Russian jamming can cause missiles to miss a target by 50 feet or more.

The M142 HIMARS launches a rocket at a Russian position on December 29, 2023 in Ukraine. Serhii Mykhalchuk/Global Images Ukraine via Getty Images

The HIMARS system, which can fire rockets up to 50 miles, was also hampered by Russian jamming, a Ukrainian military source told the Post.

“The Russians deployed electronic warfare, disabled satellite signals and HIMARS became completely ineffective,” the source told the Post. According to the assessment, Russian jamming can cause missiles to miss a target by 50 feet or more.

Earlier this week, a report revealed that US-supplied glide bombs were also continually missing their targets due to Russian jamming.

A senior U.S. official, who was not named, told the Post that Russia “has continued to expand its use of electronic warfare, and we continue to evolve and ensure that Ukraine has the capabilities that it needs to be effective.

However, earlier this month, Mike Nagata, a retired U.S. Army lieutenant general who led special operations in the Middle East, said the United States was “still lagging behind” in terms of capabilities. electronic warfare, Defense One reported.

“The gap between what the United States should be and what we are, in my opinion, continues to widen, not everywhere, but in far too many places,” Nagata said at the SOF Week conference in Tampa, Florida.

He called on the United States to be more creative in regaining its dominance in electronic warfare.

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