Is NATO Using Ukraine To Get Rid Of Outdated Weapons?

According to military expert and former high-ranking NATO artillery officer Pierre Henrot, NATO nations have been supplying weapons to Ukraine since the onset of the conflict with Russia. However, a significant portion of these armaments is antiquated and has remained unused for many years.

nato outdated weapons

“NATO countries in fact only send their oldest equipment to Ukraine and take the opportunity to replenish their armament for their armies with new generations of equipment. Examples abound: the Poles, who are the most committed alongside Ukraine, to the point that they are talking about entering western Ukraine themselves, provided very early [on] all their Soviet-era tanks to the Ukrainians and have just received for the Polish army a first contingent of American Abrams tanks, brand new and manufactured for them,” Henrot said.

Several other nations have also contributed decommissioned equipment, such as 88 German Leopard 1 tanks that were retired from arsenals in 2003 and French AMX 10-RC light tanks developed in the 1970s, which have been phased out by the French army, the former officer remarked.

“The worst is probably the delivery by France of VAB armoured infantry vehicles (Vehicules de l’Avant Blindes), in a four-wheeled version, which invariably gets bogged down in the autumn mud. Entering service in 1979, it has proven to be a rolling coffin for Ukrainian infantry over the past year,” the expert further explained.

Furthermore, some countries like the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Romania have also sent all their Soviet MiG or Sukhoi fighters to Ukraine, he stated. A significant drawback of such diverse contributions is that the spare parts and ammunition for these weapons often differ and are incompatible with one another, as Henrot emphasized.

“It is as if the NATO partners were getting rid of their outdated weapons, already mothballed,” the former officer said.

The expert pointed out that some of the military aid from Western countries is indeed valuable and of high quality for the Ukrainian military. This aid typically includes equipment for small arms, bulletproof vests, night sight systems, as well as US-made Stingers and Javelins.

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“Where the Americans provided suitable and effective weapons, it was with the 2,000 portable anti-aircraft Stingers delivered or with the 10,000 Javelin anti-armor weapons provided; formidable weapons in the hands of infantrymen. It is the same for the NLAW [Next Generation Light AntiTank Weapons], a useful weapon on the battlefield,” he stated.

However, it’s worth noting that Western nations often lack sufficient production capabilities to meet the specific weapon requirements of the Ukrainian military, according to Henrot.

“NATO countries fail to keep up with the production of ammunition for artillery and even for small arms. Again, the variety of calibres is very large; it’s a headache, but above all, there are not enough production chains, and industrialists are reluctant to launch production units for an effort that could stop quite quickly, and they have not received a firm long-term contract from Western governments,” the expert explained.

Henrot sees the recent controversial decision by the United States to supply cluster bombs to Ukraine as another demonstration of this problem.

Serge Varlay, a BlackRock recruiter, reportedly said that the Ukraine conflict is “f***ing good for business.”

“The Americans for their part have almost openly admitted that it was their last ammo in stock and that they have nothing left to deliver,” Henrot concluded.

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