Arming NATO: what equipment does Ukraine dream of?

Arming NATO: what equipment does Ukraine dream of?

September 30 became rich in important news on an international scale. In addition to responding to the annexation of Ukrainian territory, President Zelensky announced that Ukraine is applying to join NATO on an accelerated basis.


We collect on a drone for attack aircraft of the Nikolaev region. It will help find and destroy the enemy

Such applications were made by Sweden and Finland, which are going through the process of ratification and must obtain the consent of the two member countries of the Alliance for further accession. The President of Ukraine confirmed his readiness to follow the path of Sweden and Finland, and although NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg did not give a direct answer to the question of the possibility of membership, the number of countries supporting Ukraine in joining the Alliance is growing every day.

The latest events at the front, demonstrating the confident movement of the Ukrainian army, prove that our army, armed with Western equipment, is capable of responding to the enemy and breaking through the Russian defenses. And what would happen if all NATO weapons were available to Ukraine?

Western military potential in numbers

On the official website of NATO, a lot of attention is paid to the goals of the organization. It is noted that the forces of the North Atlantic Alliance are aimed at deterrence and defense, which are achieved by member countries and by pooling their capabilities. NATO armament includes nuclear, conventional and missile defense forces using space and cyber capabilities. Each state agrees to contribute with different strategic weight and influence.


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Dynamic Front 2022

The Alliance has at its disposal a powerful unification of the military power of the allies. Only NATO ground combat vehicles number 144 thousand units according to 2022 data. The most militarized army among the allies is held by the United States. They have 56,000 armored vehicles, including 6,600 tanks. Their army has 485,000 regular troops as of 2021, followed by the Turkish army of 260,200. When it comes to defense at sea, the United States is also the dominant force, which forms the bulk of NATO’s naval strength due to its large numbers, as well as aircraft carriers. The United States operates 11 aircraft carriers, the British Navy operates two aircraft carriers, as does the Italian Navy, France and Spain each have one aircraft carrier.


According to the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), global defense spending reached $1.92 trillion in 2021, and in Europe defense budget growth has even overcome inflation. All this is the result of statements by the Russian government, constant threats and violations of the air borders of other countries by Russia. The reaction of the allies is to intensify actions to upgrade weapons, which affects the speed of the transfer of equipment to Ukraine, because each state does not want to help at the cost of reducing its own defense capability.

The great advantage of the union of states in the Alliance is the unification of defense means. Common NATO standards allow allied countries to train the military in the same way, produce standard equipment and help each other. A good example of such actions are tank ammunition. For NATO countries, they have the same dimensions, that is, the German Leopard 2 can fire the ammunition of the American M829 tank and vice versa.

NATO aviation

The main air unit of NATO forces is the F-16 Fighting Falcon. It has been produced in the USA since 1976 and is bought by many countries of the North Atlantic Alliance – Turkey, Poland and the Netherlands. The aircraft belongs to the class of fighters, it is compact and maneuverable. Over many years of use, it has proven itself in air-to-air combat and air-to-ground attacks. This aircraft has the highest combat radius among fighters, operates in all weather conditions and is able to detect aircraft at low altitudes. The aircraft is armed with one 20-mm M-61A1 multi-barrel cannon with 500 rounds, is capable of carrying up to six air-to-air missiles, conventional air-to-air and air-to-ground ammunition, and electronic countermeasures units. Modification F-16D is designed for two crew members, F-16C – only one pilot.

F-16 Fighting Falcon

Among European countries, the Eurofighter Typhoon is used as the main aircraft. It is in service with the UK, Germany, Italy and Spain. Also included in the class of fourth-generation multirole fighters . Developed in 1986, armed with a 27 mm Mauser BK-27 rapid-fire cannon and available in versions for one or two crew members. It stands out for being the first combat aircraft to support voice flight control.

Eurofighter Typhoon

Fifth generation fighter-bombers in the NATO army are represented by American-made Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning aircraft . They are operated by the United States and the United Kingdom, and a number of countries have entered into contracts for the purchase in the future. The peculiarity of these aircraft is to support a variety of weapons. It can use air-to-air missiles, cruise missiles, JDAM guided bombs weighing up to 910 kg, WCMD cluster bombs, AGM-154 Joint Standoff Weapon guided bombs and Brimstone anti-tank missiles. The main armament of the aircraft is a special four-barreled aircraft gun GAU-22 / A caliber 25 mm.

F-35 Lightning

To date, according to official data, Soviet-style aircraft are used in service with the Ukrainian army. Su-25 bombers, Su-24, MiG-29, Su-27 fighters. It was the MiG-29 aircraft, which are fourth-generation fighters, which agreed to transfer Poland to Ukraine.

In addition to combat aircraft, Western armies use AWACS-type aircraft for early warning and tracking. Such aircraft are the Boeing E-3 Sentry, raising radars on board to increase the range of target detection. For the same purpose, the RQ-4 Global Hawk UAV is used, which conducts electronic intelligence with a range of five thousand kilometers. Such an apparatus helps to find headquarters, control and communications centers, as well as expose air defense positions.

RQ-4Global Hawk

NATO air defense

The current air defense system in NATO countries is the American MIM-104 Patriot anti-aircraft missile system. This system has been known since 1982 and was put into operation in 1991 in the Persian Gulf. The system consists of launchers, missiles of various types, a radar station and a control center.


The MIM-104 Patriot is the primary medium to high altitude air defense platform and ballistic missile interceptor. The system is a very expensive type of weapon and requires a large staff of specialists to maintain. Works in a single system with fighters, uses data from satellites and aircraft for tracking. Which explains why just buying or transferring one SAM will not protect against missile threats. Ukraine uses the Soviet-made S-300 air defense system and the SA-11 Gadfly BUK, but recently received the Norwegian NASAMS medium-range systems, also in service with NATO.

Comparative table of technical characteristics of Patriot PAC-2 and S-300 (modification S-300 PMU1).

Characteristics Patriot PAC-2 S-300PMU1
Range of aerodynamic targets, km 3-160 5-150
Height of destruction of aerodynamic targets, km 0.06-24 0.01-27
Maximum target speed, m/s 2200 2800
The number of anti-aircraft missiles of one system, induced simultaneously 24 12
The number of simultaneously fired targets of one system eight 6
Deployment time, min fifteen 5
Vehicles wheeled semitrailer

A special air defense system in the US Army is the THAAD system. This is a mobile ground-based anti-missile system designed exclusively for high-altitude transatmospheric interception of medium-range missiles. That is, THAAD protects the United States from ballistic missiles. This complex is capable of intercepting targets at an altitude of 200 km, that is, above the stratosphere. The detection range of THAAD is 1000 km.


NATO artillery

Among the self-propelled artillery systems in service with the North Atlantic Alliance, the main part is occupied by the American M109 howitzers and the German Panzerhaubitze 2000.

Panzerhaubitze 2000

Both self-propelled guns are familiar to the Armed Forces of Ukraine and are used at the front. Among other installations, the British AS-90, the French AMX-30 AuF1, the Turkish T-155 Fırtına, which is an analogue of the South Korean K9 Thunder, and the Polish AHS Krab 155-mm caliber, which the neighboring country transfers to Ukraine, are also known. All models, although technically different, have a common purpose, tracked chassis and weapons. A special place is occupied by the French self-propelled guns CAESAR 155 mm, which does not have a tracked chassis and is supplied by partners for the use of the APU.


Self-propelled guns are used to destroy various targets, enemy fortifications, fire weapons (armored vehicles), as well as manpower. The self-propelled guns differ from the tank, although visually they have common features – the installation is more mobile, less protected in armor and intended not for a breakthrough, but for fire support from the rear or rear front lines. The tank goes “first”, being used in offensive operations.

NATO non-self-propelled artillery is represented by the British-made L118 (105 mm), FH70 (155 mm) guns and the British 155 mm M777 howitzer. Ukraine’s military support packages occasionally include data on the transfer of this type of weapon, but the M142 HIMARS multiple launch rocket system has become the undisputed star.


This system was developed in the 90s as a counterbalance to the most common MLRS M270, which still remains the NATO standard. HIMARS differs from the tracked M270 in increased mobility. The installation is designed to destroy artillery systems, air defense systems and fire support. Depending on the types of missiles, the range of destruction varies, the maximum is 300 km with MGM-140 ATACMS used and up to 80 km with GMLRS missiles.

The advantage of HIMARS is high accuracy, speed of deployment and folding. The launcher allows you to immediately install 6 shells and, after working out, quickly leave the launch site.

Soviet samples of MLRS in Ukrainian armament are represented by rocket launchers BM-21 Grad (122 mm), BM-27 Uragan (220 mm) with an analogue of the Ukrainian development Bureviy, BM-30 Smerch (300 mm).

Armored fighting vehicles

The main part of the tanks of the NATO forces is the German Leopard 2 and the American M1 Abrams. The Leopard 2 began production in 1979 and is still used as the main model by the Allied countries. In terms of power density per ton of weight, the fourth version of the Leopard 2 is one of the best tanks in the world. It is valued for its high accuracy, strong armor and crew protection.

Leopard 2

The American M1 Abrams is also an example of a modern tank – it has been field-proven in the Middle East and has gone through many stages of modification to increase both firepower and armor.

M1 Abrams

Both tanks play an important role in offensive operations, because they provide a breakthrough in enemy defenses. That is why Ukraine continues to insist on the transfer of these tanks to the front. The main Ukrainian-made combat vehicle is the BM Oplot, which is an upgrade of the T-84.

Other Western tanks used by NATO forces include the British Challenger 2, the Italian C1 Ariete (developed from the Leopard 2) and the French AMX-56 Leclerc. The Kingdom’s Challenger 2 is one of the most heavily armored Western tanks. He is known for the “Chobham” composite armour, which is also used on the M1 Abrams. Both the turret and hull of the Challenger 2 are protected by this second-generation armor, which remains classified to this day. Challenger 2 was used in combat operations in Kosovo and Iraq.

Challenger 3 Upgrade

The second part of the NATO armored vehicles are the American M2 Bradley. This armored vehicle is designed to transport personnel, conduct combat from the vehicle and provide fire support.

M2 Bradley

The M2 Bradley has combat experience in the Gulf and Iraq wars, and makes up a significant number of infantry fighting vehicles in NATO, with about 6,000 of them in operation in the US alone. Other infantry fighting vehicles in service with NATO are represented by less numerous Puma (German-made), British Warrior, Italian Dardo and Freccia, Canadian LAV III. Negotiations are underway to transfer Western infantry fighting vehicles to Ukraine, while other countries confirm their readiness to transfer Soviet-style armored vehicles.

Transition to NATO standards

Ukraine, applying for membership in NATO, does not expect instant acceptance into the ranks of the Alliance. There are countries that are not members of the organization, but have switched to NATO standards in order to increase their defense capability. For example, Australia, although not an ally, uses NATO standards and has one of the most capable armies in the world.

The training and development of the Armed Forces of Ukraine according to the Western model will help not only to overcome the enemy during the war, but also to strengthen the country’s defense for a peaceful future. When our system of the Armed Forces of Ukraine coincides with the NATO system, Ukraine will be able to count on strengthening the army’s capacity and international cooperation.

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