TechRodents incapacitate millions in eco-friendly military equipment in Ukraine: the unforeseen problem

Rodents incapacitate millions in eco‑friendly military equipment in Ukraine: the unforeseen problem

MARINKA, UKRAINE - FEBRUARY 23:  Members of Ukraine's 72nd Brigade Anti-air unit use binoculars to search for Russian drones on February 23, 2024 near Marinka, Ukraine. February 24 will mark two years since Russia's large-scale invasion of Ukraine, which has left tens of thousands dead and many more wounded, although neither country releases official casualty figures. The war has also sparked economic insecurity around the world, further isolated Russia from the West, and, while initially galvanising NATO countries, has exposed tensions between Western allies over the scale and duration of military support to Ukraine. Two years on, the war shows no sign of ending, even while the frontlines have changed very little in recent months. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)
MARINKA, UKRAINE - FEBRUARY 23: Members of Ukraine's 72nd Brigade Anti-air unit use binoculars to search for Russian drones on February 23, 2024 near Marinka, Ukraine. February 24 will mark two years since Russia's large-scale invasion of Ukraine, which has left tens of thousands dead and many more wounded, although neither country releases official casualty figures. The war has also sparked economic insecurity around the world, further isolated Russia from the West, and, while initially galvanising NATO countries, has exposed tensions between Western allies over the scale and duration of military support to Ukraine. Two years on, the war shows no sign of ending, even while the frontlines have changed very little in recent months. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)
Images source: © GETTY | Chris McGrath

8:03 AM EST, February 24, 2024, updated: 11:24 AM EST, February 24, 2024

Weaponry systems in Ukraine, many of which were supplied by European countries, have been rendered unworkable, not due to Russian interference, but because of damage caused by mice and other rodents. Seemingly, these creatures have developed a preference for cable insulation made of corn fiber over synthetic materials. This predilection leads to malfunctioning electrical installations, rendering the expensive equipment essentially worthless, and requiring rapid overhauling.

Mice and rats have become a bane on the frontline for both Ukrainian and Russian forces, with these rodents capable of nesting almost anywhere, even in the exhaust systems of armored vehicles.

The disadvantage of eco-friendly military equipment in a war zone

Advanced mid-range anti-aircraft systems such as the SAMP/T battery or short-range variants like the IRIS-T in SLM and SLS versions have also found their way to Ukraine. The former are designed to combat high-altitude aircrafts at around 74.5 miles or ballistic missiles at a 18.6-mile distance. Meanwhile, the IRIS-T SLM systems are intended to tackle aircrafts or drones and manoeuvering missiles within a range of up to 24.8 miles (SLM) or roughly 6.2 miles (SLS).

Several European countries have supplied a wide range of weapon systems. However, the dilemma of ensuring electrical insulation durability has become a sticking point for newer equipment. This issue affects a multitude of nations where ESG (Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance) guidelines are making their way into the arms industry.

Among the more recent arrivals is the CAESAR howitzer, which was manufactured in the past few years for Denmark based on the eight-wheeled Tatra chassis. Denmark decided to allocate all 19 of its howitzers to Ukraine. Each of these are distinguished by their armored cabin and firing capabilities, reaching up to 37.3 miles using rocket booster projectiles or 18.6 miles with cost-efficient, trimmed tail projectiles. Moreover, they have been certified in 2022 to use the Vulcano GLR projectiles, offering a range of up to 49.7 miles.

A minimum crew of three people is needed to operate a CAESAR. Among them, one person is solely responsible for supplying projectiles from the ammunition depot - which contains 36 pieces - to the semi-automatic loading machine. This process allows for a rate of fire of up to 6 shots per minute. Additionally, much like other modern artillery systems, the CAESAR can fire in MRSI destructive mode and can either establish or vacate the firing position in less than a minute.

The German PzH 2000 howitzers constitute another modern artillery system known for these problems. These are particularly heavy-duty constructions, weighing about 62.8 tons, and sharing similar parameters but offering a higher intensity of fire (up to 10 shots per minute).

Other sophisticated systems that have arrived in Ukraine include advanced mid-range anti-aircraft systems like the SAMP/T battery, as well as short-range IRIS-T systems in SLM and SLS versions. These systems are capable of combating high-flying planes up to 74.5 miles away or ballistic missiles within 18.6 miles. On the other hand, the IRIS-T systems are intended for taking on aircrafts or drones, and manoeuvering missiles within a range of up to 24.8 miles (SLM) or approximately 6.2 miles (SLS).

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