With the billions worth of artillery and weapons getting transferred to Ukraine, a special unit is designated to ensure these are safely delivered to the Ukrainian Military Forces.
The US European Command in Germany created a special operations group whose pivotal role is to keep weapons flowing into the Ukrainian camp. This cell unit crosses between regions and plans delivery on a highly tactical level.
As noted in NY Times, they can be attributed as the “military version of FedEx.” Still, instead of simply throwing your packages in your front yard, this spec ops unit undergoes critical logistical planning before a “shipment” goes out.
According to Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III, Ukraine is preparing its foundation for offensive strategies against Russia, and firepower and ammunition are the key.
“Ukraine needs the firepower and the ammunition to withstand its barrage and strike back at the Russian weapons launching these attacks from inside Ukraine’s territory. “And so we understand the urgency, and we’re pushing hard to maintain and intensify the momentum of donations.”
As previously reported by SOFREP, UK is set to send another $1.2 billion worth of weapons. In addition, the US will send four more M142 HIMARS in the coming months. The infusion of weapons has slowed down Russian forces and alerted their generals.
“This has significantly slowed down the Russian advance and dramatically decreased the intensity of their artillery shelling,” Ukraine’s defense minister, Oleksii Reznikov, said in an online interview last week for the Atlantic Council, a Washington research group. “So it’s working.”
As for the cell where all of these weapons are being initially delivered to, European Command’s Chief Logistician Rear Adm. R. Duke Heinz confirms the “flow has been nonstop.” The admiral also said his cell station and his team are trying their hardest to keep up with Ukraine’s demands.
Formerly called the “International Donor Coordination Center,” the weapons center has a pretty standard structure. But, the European heatwave is making it hard for the on-site officers to keep the weapons safe.
The cell has round-the-clock operations, where officers are seen sitting at long folding tables with their laptops and headsets, coordinating with nations in different languages. They also have British and American forces helping to coordinate the influx of weaponry.
Just like FedEx, they operate in a pretty straightforward manner. Once Ukrainian requests on weaponry have been filed, the key officers will check on a master list of countries that can supply the requested weapon or artillery. A 3-star Ukrainian general is also working at the center, liaising directly with the officers in Germany.
The center also has a technical team that checks the condition of each artillery piece, ensuring they are safe to use and would be a hazard to the Ukrainian military.
The weapons will initially be sent to Poland, where Ukrainian forces will pick up the cargo and deliver it to the border. The locations of these centers are still confidential, as per Admiral Heinz.
Once the weapons are finally sent to the Ukrainian base on the battlefield, the US and its allies can no longer track them. That’s why communications between the Ukrainian Ground Forces and the center are critical in ensuring the weapons are getting to their final destination and can be accounted for.
According to Admiral Heinz, one factory in Europe’s been tapped to make Soviet-standard munitions to support the shortage in Ukraine.
The initial shipment of weapons like the Stinger antiaircraft and antitank missiles gets “priority shipping,” while larger and more complex weapon systems are transferred by sea, truck, or rail.
“It’s definitely a more complex task,” said Brig. Christopher King, the top British officer in the center. “What I would say is they are very easy to train and very committed.”
In the past five months, the center has delivered more than “78,000 tons of arms, munitions and equipment worth more than $10 billion,” according to officials on site.
“The goal is for Ukraine to win the right to defend the sovereignty of their country, and to regain that ground,” said Admiral Heinz, an Afghan and Iraq war veteran. “I can’t define what winning looks like for the Ukrainians,” he said, adding that was up to President Volodymyr Zelensky and the Ukrainian people. “The United States and our allies and partners are in it until he tells us he doesn’t need any more help.”
The tricky part is shipping weapons while the region is under surveillance not just by Russian satellites in space but also by numerous Russian FSB agents on the ground. A variety of ground vehicles disguised as normal commercial traffic would be used and munitions and other weapons would likely be shipped in relatively small amounts to prevent a strike by a Russian cruise missile from taking out a large cache of weaponry or ammunition at one time. Some of it may also be moved by aircraft in the Western part of Ukraine, out of reach of the Russian air force or surface-to-air missiles fired from Belarus or Eastern Ukraine in Donbas or Luhansk. A large number of small warehouses would also be used to disperse these armaments to prevent the destruction of a large depot if it was discovered. That these measures are proving successful is indicated by a lack of reports of Russians taking out these weapons in transit or in storage while in Ukraine.