TechThe Grim-2 ballistic missile. Ukraine's answer to ATACMS

The Grim-2 ballistic missile. Ukraine's answer to ATACMS

Grim-2 ballistic missile launcher
Grim-2 ballistic missile launcher
Images source: © Lic. CC BY-SA 4.0, VoidWanderer, Wikimedia Commons

7:07 AM EST, November 5, 2023

For the first time since Russia's assault on Ukraine, the Ukrainian Armed Forces are speaking openly about the Grim-2 ballistic missiles. This emergence of this new weapon could potentially enable Ukraine to strike targets deep within Russia.

The Ukrainian forces have already inflicted severe damage on Russia with attacks on airports in Luhansk and Berdyansk using ATACMS missiles. However, the provision of this American weaponry comes with a condition that restricts Ukraine from using it to hit targets deep within Russia.

Due to this limitation, Ukraine has had to resort to targeting Russian installations, such as the airport in Pskov and even Moscow, using hastily retrofitted old drones, like the Tu-141 Strizh, or basic unmanned aerial vehicles that aren't as capable of causing significant damage.

The situation, however, may soon change with the introduction of the Grim-2 ballistic missiles, also called Sapsan. When operational, this missile system will have the capacity to reach even Moscow.

The Ukrainian Ballistic Missile

Despite speaking quite sparingly about the Grim-2, a weapon yet to be commissioned, Ukraine has not prevented the Russians from frequently claiming to destroy Ukrainian missiles of this type or showcasing craters left by explosions from these yet non-existent weapons.

However, a high-ranking Ukrainian officer recently probed about the Grim-2 system and commented cryptically. As quoted by Defense Express, the Head of the Main Administration of Missile Forces, Artillery and Unmanned Systems, Brigadier General Sergey Baranov, stated, "I prefer to keep it a secret for now (...). Yes, it exists, it is being developed and Russians will feel its impact".

Brigade General Sergei Baranov
Brigade General Sergei Baranov©

According to Defense Express, this suggests that work on the Ukrainian ballistic missile is more advanced than previously assumed. For context, as recently as June, the readiness level of this weapon was estimated at 65-70 percent.

More about the Grim-2 Ballistic Missile (Sapsan)

The Grim-2, otherwise known as Sapsan, is a short-range Ukrainian ballistic missile in development since 2006. Undertaken when Ukraine's military acknowledged the need to replace their aging, post-Soviet Tochka-U missile launchers, the Grim-2's inception was partly funded by Saudi Arabia.

Grim-2 ballistic missile launcher
Grim-2 ballistic missile launcher© Lic. CC BY-SA 4.0, VoidWanderer, Wikimedia Commons

The existing launchers, beset by their limited range of 75 miles, carry a significant disadvantage due to their dependency on Russian maintenance.

In contrast, the Grim-2 is capable of a range of about 311 miles (export version - 174 miles). Designed to carry a 500 kg warhead, this single-stage solid-fuel missile will be launched from a double launcher deployed on a six-wheeled vehicle.

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