TechCanada considers supplying Ukraine with 83,000 CRV7 rockets from its outdated arsenal

Canada considers supplying Ukraine with 83,000 CRV7 rockets from its outdated arsenal

British Apache helicopter firing CRV7 missiles
British Apache helicopter firing CRV7 missiles
Images source: © Mod.uk
6:13 PM EST, February 4, 2024, updated: 3:47 PM EST, February 5, 2024

Several Canadian parliamentarians are advocating for the allocation of old weapons saved in Canadian arsenals, instead of disposing of them, to Ukraine. This mirrors the action of Poland, which donated old RPG-76 Komar grenade launchers.

The subject at hand revolves around over 83 thousand CRV7 (Canadian Rocket Vehicle 7) rockets, a Canadian enhancement of the American, unguided Hydra 70 rockets.

Developed in the 70's, the CRV7 rockets, boasting strong reinforced warheads, were intended primarily for air attacks on hangars housing Warsaw Pact aircraft.

Throughout the Cold War, Canadians produced countless CRV7 missiles which were gradually phased out around the turn of the century. As of 2021, as per Canadian records, a total of 83,303 units remain in storage - all destined for disposal.

However, the disposal process, which started in 2021 and is anticipated to last six years, creates a hiccup. Some of the rockets have already been dismantled and warheads from others have also been detached and destroyed.

Thus, the actual number of fully operational CRV7 rockets could be notably less than the documented 83 thousand units.

A Weapon Designed for Demolishing Fortifications

Regardless, CRV7 missiles may still prove to be beneficial. One variation (SAPHEI/HEISAP) carries a hefty 15-pound warhead, designed to crush fortifications. It's capable of penetrating - in order of the layers protecting aircraft shelters - thirteen feet of soil, nearly three feet of reinforced concrete, and a 1-inch layer of steel.

Test results underscore this warhead's effectiveness in annihilating tanks. Even though the CRV7 is a weapon suited for Western aircraft and helicopters, considering the extent of military improvisation undertaken by the Ukrainians thus far, it's plausible that these could be adapted to be transported by Ukrainian aircraft or launched from ground facilities.

Renaissance of the Old 70-mm Rockets

It is worth noting that the old, 70-mm unguided Hydra 70 rockets have undergone a low-cost modification (akin to the JDAM family of bombs), vastly enhancing their efficiency.

Ammunition container with CRV7 rockets
Ammunition container with CRV7 rockets© Lic. CC BY-SA 3.0, Marcelloo, Wikimedia Commons

This is the APKWS - Hydra rockets revamped with a control system attachment, transforming them into a ground-launched, precision-guided weaponry targeting a beam reflected from a target. This weapon - displayed in the form of mobile Vampire sets - has already been dispatched to Ukraine and is currently in use against the Russians.

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