Ukraine is expected to have the capacity to build and operate the Grom-2 short-range tactical ballistic missile. Still, no concrete evidence exists that the missile has been used in the conflict with Russia.
Ukraine has long developed a short-range ballistic missile that fires from a mobile launcher. According to the US newspaper The Drive, a series of explosions occurred on August 9 at the Saki airbase in the Crimean peninsula.
Witnesses reported hearing at least 12 explosions from the base. At least one person was killed. Russia has said the incident was an accident, while Ukrainian authorities have issued contradictory statements. However, some Ukrainian officials said it was an attack with unidentified weapons developed in the country.
According to Aljazeera, a senior Ukrainian official suggested that saboteurs could have caused the explosions in Crimea, and Kyiv denied any responsibility for the incident.
Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, also suggested that carelessness could have caused the explosions.
In a video update on the military situation, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky did not mention the explosion but said that the country’s troops were focusing on the Crimean peninsula.
If Kyiv admits to carrying out an attack on territory that Russia annexed in 2014, Kyiv could be accused by Moscow of violating red lines.
The incident raises the question that Ukraine has long developed short-range ballistic missiles, so where are these missiles?
According to The Drive, Ukraine’s Yuzhnoye design office has been researching and developing a ballistic missile model that fires on a mobile launcher since 2003. The project’s origins date back to when Ukraine broke away from the Soviet Union.
In recent years, Ukraine has introduced the Grom-2 tactical ballistic missile model with some specific images. In a photo taken in 2016, Ukraine unveiled the Grom-2 rocket launcher vehicle with a shape very similar to the Russian-developed Iskander-M ballistic missile.
The specifications of the Grom-2 rocket are also very similar to those of the Iskander. This missile model has a maximum range of 500km (limited export version 280km), carries a 480kg warhead, and uses an active or satellite navigation system.
The launch vehicle can carry two missile rounds with similar features to the Russian Iskander-M model. By design, each Grom-2 launcher can carry two rockets, similar to the Iskander-M.
Saudi Arabia is the country that has funded a large amount of money into the project and will be the first customer to buy the Grom-2 ballistic missiles from Ukraine.
So far, Saudi Arabia has not received the Grom-2 missile systems and has begun developing its ballistic missiles with help from China.
In 2019, Ukraine said its military would operate the Grom-2 missiles in 2022. At least one missile complex has been delivered to the Ukrainian army, consisting of two launchers, two command vehicles, and a radar vehicle.
There are currently no specific images of this short-range ballistic missile system in the Ukrainian army. But according to the US newspaper The Drive, the Ukrainian military was surprised by the sinking of the flagship Moskva of the Russian Black Sea Fleet, suspected of being hit by an anti-ship missile.
Before the incident with the Moscow flagship, no one knew that the Ukrainian military could operate Neptune anti-ship missiles in limited numbers.