Ukraine is negotiating with Warsaw to obtain the Kongsberg Naval Strike Missile (NSM) system which would give Kiev the ability to hit targets on land or at sea from distances of more than 124 miles. This possible deal comes as the US and its allies are working to boost the longer-range capabilities of the Ukrainian armed forces.
Earlier in the war, Washington provided Kiev with the somewhat similar Harpoon anti-ship missile launchers, but the NSM systems typically have a much greater range. Although depending on the variants used, the Harpoons can have a range of 80-150 nautical miles.
Defence24 – a Polish outlet – reported that the Ukrainians are considering whether to buy an entire NSM system or just some of its various parts. As part of its Coastal Missile Squadron, Poland has two NSM systems in operation. Each system is made up of two batteries with three missile launch vehicles, each of which carries four missiles.
According to the Defense Post, the missiles are relatively lightweight and highly maneuverable, they also use a composite material for added stealth and sea-skimming capabilities, and use autonomous target recognition. Warsaw became the first NSM operator to deploy a coastal defense variant, although the US Marine Corps, Latvia, and Romania have since decided to procure the same version.
In recent weeks and months, the NATO bloc has been working to enhance the Ukrainian military’s longer-range capabilities. London recently began supplying Ukraine with air-launched Storm Shadow missiles, which can hit targets more than 155 miles away, a range far exceeding any weapons system the US has pledged yet. These missiles can be fired by the MIG-29 warplanes NATO members Slovenia and Poland sent to Ukraine earlier this year.
Copenhagen has begun its training program preparing Ukrainian pilots to fly F-16 fighter bombers as well, with more European nations to begin their own courses next month. The US has also pledged Ground Launched Small Diameter Bombs(GLSDB) to Ukraine, which have a range of nearly 100 miles.
Additionally, the Wall Street Journal reported Thursday that the White House is close to approving the provision of Army Tactical Missile Systems (ATACMS) to Ukraine which have a range of almost 200 miles and can be fired from the High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS). ATACMS would quadruple the range of the munitions Kiev is currently using on the HIMARS.
As NATO continually ups the ante on the range of the various weapons systems being poured into this proxy war, it raises the risk that the Kiev regime will escalate its attacks inside the Russian mainland as well as Crimea, which Moscow annexed nine years ago. According to the Washington Post, the Discord Leaks revealed that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is eager to begin launching attacks inside Russia with longer range missiles.
The Kremlin has also warned that as the US led bloc arms Kiev with progressively longer range weaponry, correspondingly, Moscow will take additional territory.