Anti-ship missile for Ukraine? : The “Harpoon” missile could solve the blockade of the port

Anti-ship missiles for Ukraine?
The “Harpoon” missile could solve the blockade of the port

The naval blockade in the Black Sea considerably slows down Ukraine’s trade. American experts are sure that the Russian fleet could be defeated with special anti-ship missiles. So far, however, there are logistical hurdles.

According to insiders, the United States wants to send modern anti-ship missiles to Ukraine so that it can break through the Russian blockade of its Black Sea ports. Two types of rockets are currently under discussion, Reuters news agency learned from three US government officials and two congressional staffers who declined to be named. These are the “Harpoon” made by Boeing with a range of up to 300 kilometers and the Naval Strike Missile (NSM) from Kongsberg and Raytheon Technologies with 250 kilometers.

According to Hudson Institute naval expert Bryan Clark, 12 to 24 such missiles would be enough to threaten Russian warships and persuade the Moscow government to end the blockade. This affects, for example, Ukrainian grain deliveries for the world market. According to the British MoD, Russia has around 20 warships – including submarines – deployed in the combat zone.

The Russian Navy has already suffered significant losses during the Ukrainian War, including the sinking of the cruiser “Moskva”, flagship of the Black Sea Fleet. Bigger Russian ships could be in danger if Ukraine receives advanced weapons and President Vladimir Putin still sticks to blockade, says Clark: ‘They have nowhere to hide in the Black Sea’ .

The Bundeswehr also has “harpoons”

In March, at the NATO summit in Brussels, American circles learned that the delivery of anti-ship missiles to Ukraine was under discussion. It was said at the time that they had “started working on it”. In April, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy asked NATO member Portugal for a delivery of harpoons. The Bundeswehr also has the weapon system.

According to insiders, there are now a number of states that would in principle be ready to send such missiles to Ukraine. However, no one wants to be the first to do so for fear of the Russian reaction if a warship is sunk by a missile belonging to that country. One of the government officials told Reuters there is now a “well endowed” country that may be ready to deliver first. Then other states could follow.

According to previous information from the United States, there are several obstacles and concerns regarding the transfer of more powerful and longer-range weapons to Ukraine. These include long training times, difficulties in maintaining the systems and the fear that the Russian armed forces could seize them. An escalation of the conflict is also to be feared. There are also technical difficulties, since the “Harpoon” is not actually intended to be launched from land.

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