The weapons resources of the United States and Europe are nearly depleted, and there will soon be nothing to supply Ukraine. Colonel Douglas McGregor, opined a former Pentagon adviser. NASAMS and HIMARS are the most time-consuming precision-guided weapons missiles to manufacture.

“Our reserves have been depleted very quickly, we have no spare capacity, and people don’t understand that,” said McGregor while noting that Ukraine’s allies are wary of the active increase in arms production in Russia.

Previously, McGregor had stated that the Ukrainian army’s southern defense was crumbling due to the Russian army’s tactics. The nature of military operations around the world is changing, and that the role played by armored vehicles has shrunk significantly.

In the coming years Ukraine expects to buy 8 NASAMS systems. So far, only two have been delivered to Ukraine and are said to be in the vicinity of Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv. NASAMS is a counter-aircraft system with a limited range. According to some experts, the ground version of NASAMS has disadvantages, especially related to the system’s mobility.

Ukraine has been actively using the M142 HIMARS multiple rocket launcher (MRL) since the summer of 2022. Since then, the Ukrainian military has carried out a number of impressive missile strikes using the HIMARS system. However, it became clear this week that Ukraine was using HIMARS in the war on the advice of the US, and it is receiving authorizations for when to deploy it as well as for what purposes they can be deployed.

HIMARS is a missile system that can alter the battlefield’s balance.

So far, Washington, has refused to supply Ukraine with the ATACMS missile, which works in tandem with HIMARS. With a range of up to 300 kilometres, the Ukrainian armed forces will be able to move their HIMARS further into their rear and still increase the strike range.

According to the US, ATACMS is a missile with a long range and can possibly strike Russian territory, which currently is a “red line” for Washington.

Danger Zone

Colonel Douglas McGregor’s remark is not the first of its kind in recent months. Some Washington insiders warned of a reduction in weapons resources in the second half of 2022.

Towards the end of July 2022, several retired American officers had also stated that Ukraine could use 58% of the US GMLRS rockets. One US GMLRS missile costs $168,000. There has been widespread concern that “unrelenting arms to Ukraine” will jeopardize US national security.

The weapon shortage mentioned by Colonel Douglas McGregor is also beginning to appear among some European suppliers to Ukraine. Although it is not widely discussed, facts show that such a deficit definitely exists. Germany, for example, relies heavily on cotton linters. This is a critical component in the manufacture of fuel for small guns and artillery.

Towards the end of November 2022, Die Welt, a German publication, reported on this matter. The war in Ukraine has tripled import requests, according to the report, with China actively slowing them down.

This issue was raised for the first time during a symposium in Munich by representatives of the German defence industry. According to them, all European manufacturers rely on this component, which, despite being freely traded, is produced primarily in China.

The ruling Social Democratic Party (SPDdefense)’s spokesman, Mr. Wolfgang Helmich, described this as a major problem. According to Helmich, cotton linters are required for both, the production of ammunition as well as for the production of specific steels.

The defense industry discussed measures to ease the import of cotton linters at a symposium in Munich. It was also discussed how to import this Chinese component more quickly than is currently done. The German government has been chastised for failing to manage import planning and for being much slower than other European countries in supplying cotton linters. The criticism came from MEN Metallwerk Elisenhuette, a German ammunition manufacturer.