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NLAWs, Stingers, Javelins, & TB2s: Weapons That Ukraine Is Using To Fight Russia

The US and nations across Europe have been sending money and high-tech weapons to Ukraine to bolster its defence.

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Ever heard of "fire-and-forget" in the context of military weapons? It is a type of missile guidance that does not require the soldier to do anything else after it has been launched.

Whether it is using coordinates of the target or heat-seeking guidance, it is going to do the job.

Some of the weapons being used in Ukraine right now use this technology.

It has been almost three weeks since Russia invaded the country. Experts and observers are stunned by the ferocity of Ukrainian resistance.

The Ukrainians have had external help though. The US and nations across Europe have been sending them money and high-tech weapons to bolster their defense.

In this article, we take a look at some of the weapons being used by the Ukrainian military.

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NLAWs 

Weighing just 12.5 kilograms, an NLAW (next generation light anti-tank weapon) is a portable weapon that can be shoulder-launched, and used effectively by a single soldier.

The UK has delivered over 2,000 of these light anti-tank missiles to the Ukrainian military.

It consists of an armor-piercing warhead that is capable of destroying a heavily protected modern tank with just one strike.

Its range is between 20 and 800 metres, and uses the "fire-and-forget" guidance.

Unlike other weapons that are used for destroying tanks, NLAWs do not rely on active target seeking.

They instead use a "predicted line of sight" targeting, using magnetic and optical sensors to locate the target, according to Saab, the Swedish aerospace and defence company that manufactures NLAWs.

Fast response time is a huge advantage too. As Lars-Örjan Hovbrandt, an expert on NLAWs, said, "For a trained gunner, it takes just five or six seconds to go from carrying it in his left hand, to raise it to his shoulder, get out the sites, select firing support, and aim at the target."

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Stingers 

The Stinger missile, officially known as the FIM-92, is a man-portable air-defense system (MANPADS) that works as a surface-to-air missile (SAM) in order to deal with low-flying airplanes and helicopters.

It is developed in the US, and the Biden administration, along with Germany and the Netherlands, have been sending thousands of Stingers to the Ukrainian military.

They are used to shoot down down aircrafts engaging in bombing, gunfire, or even aerial reconnaissance.

Stingers, are NLAWs, are light, portable, and use "fire-and-forget" guidance.

The total weight, inluding missile and its launcher is about 15 kilograms. The launcher can be reused as well.

These, too, are shoulder-launched weapons, and one soldier can do it by themself.

It uses heat seeking for target tracking. The infrared seeker locks onto the heat the target is producing.

During the Soviet Union's invasion of and war in Afghanistan in the 1980s, the US provided these missiles to the mujahideen, who made it impossible for the Soviets to control the skies.

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Javelins 

The Javelin is an anti-tank missile system that uses "fire-and-forget" guidance.

The UK and Estonia have sent these missile systems to Ukraine. They too lock onto the target's heat signature.

When fired, the missile's launch does not create a lot of debris or smoke, making it harder for the target to see from where the Javelin was launched.

Its heat seeking technology makes it lethal against all sorts of vehicles used in warfare, but it is especially deadly against tanks because it strikes from the top, hence the name, Javelin.

It is "probably the most sophisticated and most powerful" anti-tank weapon, according to Mark Cancian, senior adviser for the international security program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, as quoted by the Washington Post.

A tweet by the Ukrainian military, along with photos of destroyed tanks, said that "the very information about the presence of Javelins in the weaponry of the Ukrainian Armed Forces causes panic among the [Russian flag] occupiers".

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Bayraktar TB2 Drone

These are Turkish drones that are small and light, and can remain in the sky for up to 30 hours. They are miniature UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicle).

Turkey has been supplying these drones to Ukraine since 2019, each of which carries up to four laser-guided missiles, according to Baykar Technologies.

The Bayraktar TB2s have been extensively used by Ukraine during the war against Russia, for both surveillance and ground attacks.

What makes the Bayraktar TB2s extrenely important is "the fact that a relatively light and inexpensive drone could not only evade but actively search out and destroy modern surface-to-air missile and electronic warfare systems," Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans of the specialist ORYX blog explain, as quoted by the New York Times.

These drones have been used before in Ethiopia, Azerbaijan, Libya, and Syria.

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