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What weapons are being used in Russia's invasion of Ukraine? A visual guide to key military equipment and locations

Russia continues its assault on Ukraine, deploying a wide array of weaponry as Ukraine holds off advances with weapons provided by NATO members.

Published Updated

Russia continues its assault on Ukraine, deploying a wide array of weaponry as Ukraine holds off advances with weapons provided by NATO members.

Published Updated

As fighting continues across Ukraine, the world has been getting a closer look at both countries' weaponry, how deadly it can be, and how quickly expensive equipment can be destroyed. 

Before Russia's invasion, Western observers may have seen some of these machines triumphantly displayed in the annual Moscow Victory Day parades in Red Square.

But now Russia is using these vehicles and weapons in military assaults that have battered Ukrainian cities. Russian troops continue to push toward the capital city of Kyiv but have been slowed by intense resistance from Ukrainian forces whose stockpiles have been bolstered with Western military equipment. 

Here's a look at some of key equipment deployed in the conflict so far:

U.S. to send longer-range rocket system to Ukraine as part of new aid package

U.S. to send longer-range rocket system to Ukraine as part of new aid package

May 31, 2022

President Joe Biden announced Tuesday his administration would send advanced, longer-range rocket systems to Ukraine to combat Russian forces.

Senior administration officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said Tuesday the U.S. would be sending HIMARS (High Mobility Rocket Systems) to Ukraine. The officials said in a call with reporters that Ukrainian officials assured the United States the rockets would only be used to repel Russian forces in Ukraine and not to attack Russian territory.

Biden unveils heavy artillery, other advanced weaponry aid for Ukraine

Biden unveils heavy artillery, other advanced weaponry aid for Ukraine

APRIL 21, 2022

President Joe Biden announced additional military aid for Ukraine on Thursday totaling about $800 million, matching the same amount designated last week as Russia concentrates withering attacks on the eastern region of Donbas.

The U.S. military aid to Ukraine includes 72 155mm howitzers, 72 trucks to tow them and 144,000 artillery rounds, Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said. The howitzers will outfit five Ukrainian artillery battalions specifically for fighting in the Donbas, Kirby said.

Also included are 121 Phoenix Ghost drones developed by the U.S. Air Force specifically for the Ukrainians, Kirby said. The drones have abilities to the Switchblade kamikaze drones, which are single-use, armed drones that fit in a backpack. They are designed with cameras, guidance systems and abort systems.

Ukraine claims to have hit Russian warship

Ukraine claims to have hit Russian warship

APRIL 14, 2022

Two Ukrainian Neptune missiles struck the Russian missile cruiser Moskva, which later sank, according to a senior U.S. Defense official who was not authorized to speak publicly. The cruiser is believed to be about between 60 and 65 nautical miles south of Odesa and almost exactly due south. 

Pentagon officials had previously said they could not confirm the Ukrainian claim of responsibility for an attack that caused the damage, but they did not refute it. Russia initially denied a report that the Moskva, flagship of its Black Sea fleet, sank. The cruiser usually has about 500 officers and crew. 

The Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation later claimed that the warship sank under tow in stormy conditions due to damage to the hull received due to a fire from the detonation of ammunition, according to Tass, Russia's state news agency. “The ship was seriously damaged. The crew was completely evacuated,” the ministry added. The ministry also said the fire had been contained and that the ship would be towed to port with its guided missile launchers intact.

Pentagon shares details of recent equipment to be sent to Ukraine

Pentagon shares details of recent equipment to be sent to Ukraine

APRIL 7, 2022

The Pentagon released Thursday details about the U.S. commitment to Ukraine which includes $1.7 billion in security assistance since Russia’s February 24 invasion, and $2.4 billion since the beginning of the Biden Administration. United States security assistance includes: 

  • Over 1,400 Stinger anti-aircraft systems
  • Over 5,000 Javelin anti-armor systems
  • Over 7,000 other anti-armor systems
  • Hundreds of Switchblade Tactical Unmanned Aerial Systems
  • Over 7,000 small arms
  • Over 50,000,000 rounds of ammunition
  • 45,000 sets of body armor and helmets
  • Laser-guided rocket systems
  • Puma Unmanned Aerial Systems
  • Four counter-artillery and counter-unmanned aerial system tracking radars
  • Four counter-mortar radar systems
  • Armored High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles
  • Night vision devices, thermal imagery systems, and optics
  • Tactical secure communications systems
  • Commercial satellite imagery services
  • Explosive ordnance disposal protective gear
  • Medical supplies to include first aid kits.
Pentagon sending troops and warplanes to Europe

Pentagon sending troops and warplanes to Europe

MARCH 29, 2022

The Pentagon is sending a 200-person Marine Corps command-and-control unit to Lithuania, Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said Today. The unit had been participating in a training mission in Norway.

In addition, the Marines will send about 10 F-18 Hornet warplanes, a couple of C-130 cargo aircraft to Europe and about 200 personnel, Kirby said Monday. The Pentagon has been sending troops and equipment to shore up NATO’s eastern flank following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The C-130 is capable of airlifting 92 ground troops, 64 fully equipped paratroopers and 45,000 pounds of cargo.

Pentagon sending six Navy jets to Germany

Pentagon sending six Navy jets to Germany

MARCH 28, 2022

The Pentagon is sending six Navy jets that specialize in suppressing enemy air defense to bolster NATO’s eastern flank, Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said Monday.

The Navy “Growler” aircraft are based at Whidbey Island, Washington and will be sent to Germany, Kirby said. They will not fly missions in Ukraine against Russian forces. The deployment will include about 240 pilots, crews and maintainers.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin deployed the warplanes to keep “options open,” Kirby said.

“They’re not being sent because of some sort of acute threat that was perceived or some specific incident that happened,” Kirby said."

Ukraine's military reported that it destroyed a Russian landing ship in the Sea of Azov

Ukraine's military reported that it destroyed a Russian landing ship in the Sea of Azov

MARCH 24, 2022

Ukrainian forces destroyed a Russian transport ship in the port city of Berdyansk that appeared to be on a resupply mission, a senior U.S.Defense official said Friday.

The attack on Thursday blew up a tank-landing ship at its pier, said the official who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence assessments. The official also confirmed that Russians have 22 warships in the Black Sea.

The ship was seen burning in satellite photos and social media videos near the port city southwest of Mariupol. Russia did not immediately comment on the claim.

The destroyed ship was an Alligator-class landing ship, capable of carrying 1,000 tons of military equipment, including tanks, armored vehicles, ammunition, and troops.

READ MORE on the destroyed Russian ship.

President Biden announced Wednesday $800 million more in military aid to "fend off Russia's assault."

President Biden announced Wednesday $800 million more in military aid to "fend off Russia's assault."

MARCH 16, 2022

President Joe Biden announced Wednesday that an additional $800 million in military aid will be sent to Ukraine, just hours after President Volodymyr Zelenskyy's address to the U.S. Congress, a speech Biden called "convincing."

Biden said the U.S. is adding to its assistance, which now totals $1 billion just this week, to help "fend off Russia's assault." The new package includes:

  • 800 Stinger anti-aircraft systems;
  • 2,000 Javelin, 1,000 light anti-armor weapons, and 6,000 AT-4 anti-armor systems;
  • 100 Tactical Unmanned Aerial Systems (Switchblades);
  • 100 grenade launchers, 5,000 rifles, 1,000 pistols, 400 machine guns, and 400 shotguns;
  • Over 20 million rounds of small arms ammunition and grenade launcher and mortar rounds;
  • 25,000 sets of body armor; and
  • 25,000 helmets.

In addition to the weapons listed above, previous United States assistance committed to Ukraine includes:

  • Over 600 Stinger anti-aircraft systems;
  • Approximately 2,600 Javelin anti-armor systems;
  • Five Mi-17 helicopters;
  • Three patrol boats;
  • Four counter-artillery and counter-unmanned aerial system tracking radars;
  • Four counter-mortar radar systems;
  • 200 grenade launchers and ammunition;
  • 200 shotguns and 200 machine guns;
  • Nearly 40 million rounds of small arms ammunition and over 1 million grenade, mortar, and artillery rounds;
  • 70 High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles (HMMWVs) and other vehicles;
  • Secure communications, electronic warfare detection systems, body armor, helmets, and other tactical gear;
  • Military medical equipment to support treatment and combat evacuation;
  • Explosive ordnance disposal and demining equipment; and
  • Satellite imagery and analysis capability.
Tank destroyed by Next generation Light Anti-tank Weapon or NLAW

Tank destroyed by Next generation Light Anti-tank Weapon or NLAW

MARCH 12, 2022

A Ukrainian soldier was photographed holding an NLAW or Next generation Light Anti-tank Weapon, that was used to destroy a Russian armored vehicle in Irpin, north of Kyiv.

A Ukrainian soldier holds a Next Generation Light Anti-tank Weapon (NLAW) that was used to destroy a Russian armored personnel carrier (APC) in Irpin, north of Kyiv, on March 12, 2022.
A Ukrainian soldier holds a Next Generation Light Anti-tank Weapon (NLAW) that was used to destroy a Russian armored personnel carrier (APC) in Irpin, north of Kyiv, on March 12, 2022. SERGEI SUPINSKY, AFP via Getty Images

Made in Sweden and the United Kingdom, NLAWs are lightweight but lack infrared seeking abilities. Instead it uses predictive line of sight firing which is better suited for close range warfare.

ANTI-TANK WARFARE: A visual guide to US made weapons sent to Ukraine

Ukrainian servicemen capture Russian tanks near Brovary

Ukrainian servicemen capture Russian tanks near Brovary

MARCH 10, 2022

After a column of Russian tanks and armored vehicles was ambushed near Brovary, just east of Kyiv, Ukrainian forces captured abandoned tanks and an armored vehicle. One tank appears to be a Russian T-72A with a mine plow. An MT-LB personnel carrier is also seen near the bridge overpass leading into Skybin, Ukraine.

The T-72A is the second generation of Soviet-made main battle tank in the T-72 family.

The T-72A has several improvements from its predecessor the T-72 tank including improved gun, engine and laser range finder. It can carry 44 rounds of onboard ammunition for the main gun. It's also fitted with smoke grenade dischargers. The tank holds a crew of three including a commander, gunner and driver. It was accepted for service with the Russian army in 1979. A total of 5,264 of these tanks were delivered to the Soviet Army.

The MT-LB is usually classified as an armored personnel carrier with a 7.62mm machine gun, but it's also designed for multiple uses. Introduced by the Soviet military in 1964, the amphibious tracked vehicle can carry 11 soldiers or transport fuel or ammunition across snowy or muddy terrain. With modification, it can function as a tank destroyer or launch surface-to-air missiles. Weaponsystems.net calls it "an iconic Cold War combat vehicle."

Russian armored vehicles destroyed 20 miles northeast of Kyiv

Russian armored vehicles destroyed 20 miles northeast of Kyiv

MARCH 10, 2022

Ukraine’s Defense Intelligence Service posted a tweet stating "significant losses in personnel and equipment” were caused to a Russian tank regiment in the Brovary area of Kyiv. The video posted Thursday first shows a large convoy of armored vehicles moving along a highway, then cuts to a shot where explosions are seen among vehicles in Skybyn, located northeast of Kyiv. The video then shows the convoy moving northeast along the highway out of Skybin and away from Kyiv, as smoke is seen rising from a number of damaged vehicles.

The location of the footage is confirmed by photographs of the aftermath taken at the scene by the Associated Press on the same day.

Destroyed Russian tanks are seen on a main road after battles in the village of Skybyn, northeast of Kyiv, Ukraine, Thursday, March 10, 2022.
Destroyed Russian tanks are seen on a main road after battles in the village of Skybyn, northeast of Kyiv, Ukraine, Thursday, March 10, 2022. Felipe Dana, AP

The audio track includes a military conversation in Russian: "the artillery was shooting, tanks, the drone, as I understood, Bayraktar is flying, I am figuring out the rest of the losses."

This is not the first time the Ukrainian government has touted use of the Turkish-made Bayraktar drones on social media. Multiple videos have been uploaded to Facebook by a Ukrainian general. One in particular shows the view from the operator's desk as it explodes a Russian missile launchers near the Ukrainian city of Ivankiv.

The Bayraktar, developed in Turkey, is a medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE) unmanned system and can carry anti-tank guided missiles and laser-guided bombs, and can also be used to site missile targets for helicopters.

Poland offers its fleet of MiG-29 fighters to U.S. for use by Ukrainian pilots

Poland offers its fleet of MiG-29 fighters to U.S. for use by Ukrainian pilots

TUESDAY MARCH 8, 2022

The Pentagon said Tuesday that Poland’s offer to give its MiG-29 fighter jets to the U.S. so they can be passed to Ukraine raises serious concerns for the NATO alliance and the plan is not “a tenable one.”

Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said in a statement that the prospect of jets departing from a U.S./NATO base in Germany to fly into airspace contested with Russia in the Ukraine war is concerning. He said it’s not clear to the U.S. that there is a substantive rationale for it.

Two Polish Air Force Russian made Mig 29's fly above and below two Polish Air Force U.S. made F-16 fighter jets during the Air Show in Radom, Poland, on Aug. 27, 2011.
Two Polish Air Force Russian made Mig 29's fly above and below two Polish Air Force U.S. made F-16 fighter jets during the Air Show in Radom, Poland, on Aug. 27, 2011. Alik Keplicz, AP

Earlier on Tuesday,Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Robert Menendez, D-N.J., said that Poland has decided to transfer its MiG-29 jets to the U.S. military, which could then transfer those Soviet-era planes to Ukraine to bolster its air defenses. Ukrainian pilots are trained to fly Soviet-era fighter jets.   

AP reported that Poland planned give all of its MiG-29 fighter jets to the U.S., apparently agreeing to an arrangement that would allow them to be used by Ukraine’s military. The decision came Tuesday as Washington was looking at a proposal under which Poland would supply Ukraine with Soviet-era fighters and in turn receive American F-16s to make up for their loss. The Polish Foreign Ministry said in a statement that Poland was ready to deliver the jets to the U.S. Ramstein Air Base in Germany.

Developed to counter U.S. fighter superiority, MiG-29 prototypes began flying in 1977 and were deployed in the early ‘80s. A twin-engine fighter jet that can travel more than 1,500 mph, the MiG-29 has been modernized over the years with additional fuel capacity for longer flights, improved radar and air-to-surface missiles. The Ukrainian Air Force has MiG-29 aircraft, too.

Ukrainian forces are using portable missiles against aircraft

Ukrainian forces are using portable missiles against aircraft

MARCH 5, 2022

Armed Forces of Ukraine on Saturday shared a video to Twitter purportedly depicting the fiery downfall of a Russian helicopter shot down by Ukrainian forces, the tweet read: "Welcome to hell." The defiant mantra directed toward Russian invaders has been seen painted road signs and heard in impassioned speeches.

The helicopter is believed to be an Mi-24 and appears to be shot down by a man-portable air defense system (MANPADS). 

Charred vehicles and destruction in Bucha, Ukraine

Charred vehicles and destruction in Bucha, Ukraine

MARCH 1, 2022

A scene of destruction was visible in Bucha, Ukraine, where Russian military vehicles were charred in an apparent air attack in the town 20 miles from the capital Kyiv.

Meanwhile, casualties mounted and reports emerged that more than 70 Ukrainian soldiers were killed after Russian artillery recently hit a military base in Okhtyrka, a city between Kharkiv and Kyiv, the capital.

People look at the gutted remains of Russian military vehicles on a road in the town of Bucha, close to the capital Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, March 1, 2022.
People look at the gutted remains of Russian military vehicles on a road in the town of Bucha, close to the capital Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, March 1, 2022. Serhii Nuzhnenko, AP

Several Russian BTR-style armored vehicles were seen charred in the streets of Bucha along with MT-LB armored vehicles and assortment of Russian support vehicles.

The BTR-70 is an armored personnel carrier, a vehicle used to transport troops into combat. This eight-wheeled amphibious vehicle has more armor than its predecessors, but it's also faster and is equipped with two machine guns. Its 14.5mm machine gun can penetrate a 32mm armored plate more than 500 yards away. Developed in the 1970s, this APC is also used by Ukrainian forces. 

GAZ-Tigr vehicles destroyed in Kharkiv

GAZ-Tigr vehicles destroyed in Kharkiv

FEBRUARY 28, 2022

Russia’s conventional military assault on Ukraine moved closer to the capital Kyiv on Feb. 28 with fighting in the streets of the country’s second-largest city, Kharkiv. Charred GAZ-Tigr can be seen in the streets of Kharkiv leaving evidence of heavy fighting.

Introduced in 2005 by Russian automaker GAZ, the Tigr is an all-terrain high mobility vehicle counterpart to the American HMMWV (Humvee). Armored versions are protected with 5mm plating, and the Tigr is typically used for rapid response, patrols and convoy escorts. Weapon configurations vary, but the Tigr is capable of carrying a half-ton of cargo.

Troops advance on Ukraine 

Troops advance on Ukraine 

FEBRUARY 26, 2022

Russia ordered its troops to advance in Ukraine "from all directions" as the Ukrainian capital Kyiv imposed a blanket curfew and officials reported 198 civilian deaths. A Russian T-90A tank was destroyed by the Ukrainian forces on the side of a road in Luhansk region on the same day.

Smoke rises from a Russian tank destroyed by the Ukrainian forces on the side of a road in Luhansk region on Feb. 26, 2022.
Smoke rises from a Russian tank destroyed by the Ukrainian forces on the side of a road in Luhansk region on Feb. 26, 2022. ANATOLII STEPANOV, AFP via Getty Images

The T-90A tank, an upgraded version of the T-90, was first deployed in 2004.

Its top speed is 40 mph and its range is about 430 miles. Its improvements include better armor, targeting systems, and a more accurate main gun. Russian forces used the tanks in the 2014 Donbas War.

Ka-52 (Hokum-B) forced down outside Kyiv

Ka-52 (Hokum-B) forced down outside Kyiv

FEBRUARY 24, 2022

The Russian attack began around 4:30 a.m. in Ukraine, with a barrage of over 100 ballistic, cruise and surface-to-air missiles and included 75 medium and heavy bombers. The invasion is the largest in Europe since World War II.  Later that day a Russian Ka-52 helicopter gunship was forced to land near Kyiv.

A man surveys a Russian Ka-52 helicopter gunship after a forced landing outside Kyiv, Ukraine, on Feb. 24 following Russian air and missile strikes on facilities across Ukraine.
A man surveys a Russian Ka-52 helicopter gunship after a forced landing outside Kyiv, Ukraine, on Feb. 24 following Russian air and missile strikes on facilities across Ukraine. Efrem Lukatsky, AP

The Ka-52 attack helicopter can travel as fast as 185 mph. The Russian Air Force developed and deployed it in the 1990s and uses it for attacks, patrols and convoy protection.

SOURCE USA TODAY Network reporting and research, military-today.com; armyrecognition.com

Contributing: Javier Zarracina and Shawn Sullivan, USA TODAY.

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