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Security Brief: Weapons/Tactics Week of April 3, 2022

Week of March 30, 2022 | Issue 2

Annabelle Hueber, Weapons and Tactics (W/T) Team

Hannah Norton, Editor; Jennifer Loy, Chief of Staff



Dutch Bushmaster with remote turret[1]



Date: April 1, 2022

Location: Washington DC, USA

Parties involved: USA; US Department of Defense (DoD); US President Joseph Biden; US-based defense contractors; Ukraine; Ukrainian Armed Forces; Russia; Australia; the UK

The event: The DoD announced on April 1 that new warfighting technologies and equipment will be deployed to Ukraine, including unmanned drones with explosive capabilities and military intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) technologies.[2] The supplied technologies will be donated alongside additional military resources from Australia and the UK. These technologies will be directed under Biden’s Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI), which aims to procure resources from the private sector rather than DoD stockpiles.[3] These resources will be used to support the Armed Forces of Ukraine in fighting Russian troops and protect “gray zone targets” which contain civilians and humanitarian workers.

Analysis & Implications:

  • Imagery and communications equipment will almost certainly aid Ukrainian Armed Forces in positively targeting Russian entities. Specialized Ukrainian troops will very likely enhance low-light tactics and concealed engagement capabilities using night-vision and thermal imagery systems. It is very likely that the Ukrainian military chain of command will use tactical secure communications systems and commercial satellite imagery services to guide land-based troops toward objectives and sightings of potential Russian targets. Advanced communications and targeting technologies will almost certainly reduce false target identification by the Ukrainian military.

  • There is a roughly even chance that Ukrainian troops will use US-supplied loitering munitions to destroy gray zone targets. A combination of drones and unmanned aerial systems will almost certainly be deployed by Ukrainian forces to provide overhead reconnaissance of potential combatants. In the event that a drone operator sights a potential enemy force, it is likely that Ukrainian troops will continue to conduct kamikaze drone strikes without positive identification of targets.

  • It is very likely that delivery of ISR technologies indicates that Ukraine is shifting from tactical military orientation to a large-scale operational strategy aimed to push out entrenched Russian troops. It is likely that US-supplied ISR technologies will be given to front line troops in Ukraine, likely indicating that Ukraine is attempting to seek out entrenched targets in border cities. The deployment of ISR technologies to secondary and auxiliary military units likely suggests that Ukrainian defense executives have lost faith in front line troops and are reinvesting in fortified positions to prepare for the collapse of primary defenses.


Date: April 1, 2022

Location: Washington DC, USA

Parties involved: USA; US Department of Defense (DoD); US Department of State (DoS); US Intelligence Community; Ukraine; Russia; Russian Armed Forces; EU

The event:

The White House announced on April 1 that the US will be delivering shipments of chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) equipment and supplies to Ukraine.[4] US officials claim that the threat of a Russian CBRN attack on Ukraine is growing and a team has been tasked with developing an action plan for a confirmed CBRN event in Ukraine. Concurrently, the EU has announced that a CBRN defense resource stockpile will be amassed in response to the escalation of Russian CBRN threats and allegations of CBRN weapons being stored in Ukraine.[5]

Analysis & Implications:

  • It is likely that Russian military executives will interpret the delivery of CBRN response materials as a form of provocation. Russia will likely escalate force in Ukraine through deployment of more modern and destructive weapon systems. Russia will almost certainly continue increasing the severity and frequency of misinformation campaigns surrounding supposed US-funded Ukrainian CBRN programs.

  • It is very likely that US military officials have withheld critical information relating to CBRN threats in Ukraine from the public. The limited publication of CBRN-oriented information by the DoS and related EU entities likely indicates that a Russian-originating CBRN threat is legitimate. The lack of detail provided in media and official reporting suggests that the US intelligence and defense communities are likely withholding information that could compromise the integrity of ongoing counter-CBRN operations or cause public panic.

  • There is a roughly even chance that the EU will refuse to donate CBRN protection equipment to Ukraine out of fear of being targeted by Russia. It is very likely that the location of CBRN resource stockpiles will remain classified until the Russian-originating CBRN threat is eliminated or no longer present. CBRN resources will likely be donated to Ukraine in a “test” capacity if the threat towards EU security escalates, such as the unlikely deployment of Russian CBRN weapons and tactics.


Date: April 4, 2022

Location: Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia

Parties involved: Australia; Australian Defense Force (ADF); Australian Department of Defense; Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF); Ukraine; Ukrainian Armed Forces; Netherlands; Dutch Armed Forces; Russia; the UK; New Zealand

The event:

The ADF has completed preliminary logistical tasks in deploying several Bushmaster Protected Infantry Mobility Vehicles to Ukraine. The vehicles have been repainted with camouflage for urban Ukraine. The ADF is currently investigating the viability of deploying ally-operated Bushmaster vehicles into Ukraine, including equipment sourced from the Netherlands, the UK, or New Zealand. The vehicles will be delivered via a RAAF C-17, which can fly four Bushmaster vehicles at once.[6]

Analysis & Implications:

  • It is almost certain that Australia will continue to support the international procurement and delivery of armored military vehicles to Ukrainian Armed Forces. There is a roughly even chance that Australia will supply Ukraine with small arms and tactically significant weapons, such as portable anti-armor and anti-air missiles. It is unlikely that Australia will deploy any ADF soldiers to eastern Europe in anything other than advisory or consultancy roles to avoid threats of retaliation from the Russian government.

  • It is very likely that Ukrainian Armed Forces will face problems relating to interoperability, maintenance, and training of foreign armored military vehicles. With adequate training, Ukrainian forces will almost certainly be able to operate the immediate and simple functions of Bushmaster vehicles provided by Australian allies. Ukrainian forces will very likely face stock shortages of replacement parts for combat-damaged Bushmaster vehicles, almost certainly reducing redeployment capabilities of vehicle-bound troops.

  • There is a roughly even chance that foreign military vehicles will be targeted due to ineffective camouflage. Ukrainian troops will likely render foreign-supplied armored vehicles inoperable by overloading or trapping vehicles in adverse terrain. Russian troops will likely target those left in open areas, or rig abandoned vehicles with explosives.

________________________________________________________________________ The Counterterrorism Group (CTG)

[1]TFU Task Force Uruzgan Afghanistan” by Ministerie van Defensie licensed under CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication

[2] Pentagon commits another $300 million to Ukraine for security assistance, Washington Post, April 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/04/02/pentagon-300-million-ukraine-aid/

[3] Defense Department Announces $300 Million in Additional Assistance for Ukraine, US Department of Defense, April 2022, https://www.defense.gov/News/Releases/Release/Article/2987119/defense-department-announces-300-million-in-additional-assistance-for-ukraine/

[4] U.S. providing Ukraine with supplies in case Russia deploys chemical weapons, Reuters, April 2022, https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/us-providing-ukraine-with-supplies-case-russia-deploys-chemical-weapons-2022-04-01/

[5] EU agrees to stockpile equipment, drugs against chemical, nuclear incidents - sources, Reuters, April 2022, https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/eu-agrees-stockpile-equipment-drugs-against-chemical-nuclear-incidents-sources-2022-04-01/

[6] Australian Bushmaster armoured vehicles painted and ready to fly to Ukraine within days, ABC News, April 2022, https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-04-04/australian-armoured-vehicles-bushmasters-ukraine-ar/100965042

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