Discussions are ongoing regarding the reinforcement of Ukraine’s military capabilities amidst its ongoing conflict with Russia. Notably, Russia frames this as a “special military operation” ongoing since February 2022, warranting attention.

According to a recent Politico report citing credible US sources, the US administration is considering providing Ukraine with the APAM missile [M39 ATACMS] as part of a new aid package. It’s worth noting that the APAM is a previous iteration of the well-known ATACMS missile [M57 ATACMS]. Informed sources within the US government reveal ongoing deliberations within the White House regarding a significant military aid package for Ukraine, estimated at 300 million USD, which may include the APAM missile.

The APAM [Anti-Personnel Anti-Material M39 APAM] and ATACMS [Army Tactical Missile System M57 ATACMS] are distinct missile types, each serving specific purposes with unique capabilities. The APAM primarily targets personnel and material, while the ATACMS is designed for long-range surface-to-surface strikes.

Differences between the two missiles include size, weight, and guidance systems. The APAM is compact and lightweight, suitable for precision strikes with minimal collateral damage, and can be deployed from various platforms. Conversely, the ATACMS is larger and heavier, capable of carrying substantial payloads over long distances, typically launched from specialized missile launchers.

Guidance systems also differ, with APAM utilizing laser guidance for precision targeting, while ATACMS relies on GPS or INS for accurate targeting, even at extreme ranges. Additionally, the ATACMS boasts a significantly longer range, up to 300 kilometers, compared to the APAM’s shorter range of around 160 kilometers, making it suitable for strategic strikes versus the APAM’s tactical engagements.

Furthermore, the warheads carried by each missile vary, with the APAM typically housing blast-fragmentation warheads for maximum impact on personnel and light vehicles, while the ATACMS can accommodate various warheads, including unitary, cluster, chemical, or nuclear payloads, depending on the specific variant.

Congress is stalling President Biden’s request, delaying additional funding for the ongoing conflict in Ukraine and support for Israel and Taiwan. Last year, Ukraine received a covert shipment of APAM missiles from the US, and a similar aid package is in the works. These shipments may not be officially documented as military aid. However, the Pentagon’s ability to send further weaponry to Kyiv is hindered by December’s fiscal deficits, leaving military personnel on the battlefield short of ammunition and air defenses while legislators debate the bill.

The APAM missile belongs to the category of smart weapons, leveraging advanced technology to enhance accuracy and minimize collateral damage. Its propulsion system typically consists of a solid rocket motor, chosen for its reliability and simplicity in generating thrust. Comprising a casing loaded with solid composite propellant, an igniter, and a nozzle to direct exhaust gases, the solid rocket motor ignites during launch, propelling the missile into the air.

Once airborne, the guidance system takes control, utilizing onboard sensors and computers to track and adjust the missile’s trajectory. This guidance system combines GPS for precise location data with an inertial navigation system to monitor speed and direction, ensuring accurate targeting even against moving objects. Upon reaching the target, the APAM missile’s warhead detonates, typically containing explosives designed to eliminate the target with precision, minimizing collateral damage.