Monday, 15 August 2022

Vikings For Victory: Norwegian Arms Transfers To Ukraine


By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans

As much of Europe has rallies behind Ukraine to help it in its fight against the Russian military, plenty of attention has been devoted to the endeavours of the UK and Germany to keep Ukraine in the fight. Far less coverage has been given to the efforts of countries such as Norway, Sweden and Finland in providing Ukraine with military aid. Though this is partly the result of the decision by some governments not to disclose details of arms deliveries to Ukraine, a more general lack of focus in the news cycle on the contributions of these countries cannot be denied.
 
Norway pledged its first batch of military aid just days after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, in turn breaking a 60-year ban on arms exports to active warzones. [1] This shipment, which reached Ukraine in early March, consisted of 2000 M72 LAW anti-tank weapons, 5000 helmets and 1500 bulletproof vests. [2] In the following months another batch of 2000 M72 LAWs and 100 Mistral 2 man-portable air-defence systems (MANPADS) reached Ukraine. [3] At least some of the tripod-mounted Mistral 2s were subsequently installed on pick-up trucks to make them mobile. [4]

The most significant support to Ukraine by Norway thus far has been the delivery of 22 155mm M109A3GN self-propelled guns (SPGs) delivered in May 2022. The M109A3GN is a 1990's upgrade of the M109A3 that first entered service with the Norwegian Army in the late 1960s. Though older and less capable than the PzH 2000 SPGs delivered by Germany and the Netherlands, the M109A3GN is still a potent system that can fire shells to a maximum range of 25km (or 30km when using rocket-assisted projectiles). Their age is also more than made up for by their numbers, with 22 M109A3GNs constituting a significant addition to Ukraine's artillery arsenal.

A Norwegian-delivered M109A3GN in Ukraine.

Rather than having its non-upgraded multiple rocket launchers (MRLs) collecting dust as France does, Norway also worked out a deal with the United Kingdom to supply the British Army with three M270s so that the UK could transfer three of its more modern M270B1s to Ukraine. This clever workaround was followed by an announcement to donate fourteen Iveco LAV III infantry mobility vehicles (IMVs) to Ukraine in late July 2022. Norway will also deliver two NASAMS surface-to-air missile (SAM) batteries to Ukraine that were purchased by the United States. The 25km+ range of the associated AIM-120C missile allows the engagement of high-flying targets.
 
Private initiatives by Norwegian citizens have also made a substantial contribution. Veteran Aid Ukraine is currently collecting funds for Ukraine, and through their efforts three Aeryon SkyRanger R60 VTOL UAVs have already been dispatched to Ukraine. [5] In March, they went to Ukraine and delivered humanitarian aid such as blankets and canned food, and a generator for a hospital in Lviv. [6] In July 2022, Veteran Aid Ukraine returned to Ukraine. This time, among other items, they brought with them thermal weapon sights and ten DJI Mavic 2/3 drones. [5] [6]
 
Even though Norway's stocks of excess heavy weaponry are largely exhausted, the country is likely to continue to support Ukraine's military, for example through the provision of funding with which Ukraine can procure weapon systems from defence companies in other countries. The transfer of additional M109A3GN(M) SPGs, Iveco LAV III LMVs or even M113 APCs is also a possibility, although this will likely depend on their condition and Norway's ability to quickly replace these vehicles in Norwegian Army service.
 

Norwegian Iveco LAV IMVs sit in storage.

The following list attempts to keep track of military equipment delivered or pledged to Ukraine by Norway during the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine. The entries below are sorted by armament category (with a flag denoting the country of origin). Due to the confidential nature of some arms deliveries they can serve only as a lower bound to the total volume of weaponry delivered. This list will be updated as further military support is declared or uncovered. 

(Click on the vehicle or equipment type to get a picture of them)
 

Surface-To-Air Missile (SAM) Systems

  • 6 NASAMS Batteries [Delivered from September 2022 onwards] (Purchased by the U.S. from the Norwegian defence company Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace)
 

Multiple Rocket Launchers (MRLs)

  • 3 M270 MLRS (Delivered to the United Kingdom to allow the British Army to transfer three more modern M270B1s to Ukraine)

Self-Propelled Artillery (SPGs)


Infantry Mobility Vehicles (IMVs)

 

Man-Portable Air Defence Systems (MANPADS)


Coastal Defence Missile (CDS) Systems


Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs)


Anti-Tank Weaponry

 

Ammunition


Miscellaneous Equipment

  • 5000 Helmets 'HJELM' [February 2022]
  • 1.500 Bulletproof Vests [February 2022]
  • 1.000 Gas Masks [February 2022] 
  • Night Vision Goggles [July or August 2022]
  • Thermal Binoculars [July or August 2022]
  • 15.000 Meal, Ready-to-Eat (MREs) [February 2022] 
  • 2000 Sleeping Bags [February 2022]
  • 10000 Sleeping Pads [February 2022]
 

A Ukrainian Viking holds a M549A1 155mm HE rocket-assisted projectile (supplied by U.S.) in front of his M109A3GN SPG delivered by Norway.

[1] Answering The Call: Heavy Weaponry Supplied To Ukraine https://www.oryxspioenkop.com/2022/04/answering-call-heavy-weaponry-supplied.html
[2] Go-Fund Ukraine: Baykar Tech Donates TB2 For Ukraine After Lithuanian Crowdfunder https://www.oryxspioenkop.com/2022/06/go-fund-ukraine-lithuania-raises-funds.html
[3] Let your money fight https://blue-yellow.lt/en#about-us

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