The White House finally made a historic decision and allocated in a new package of military aid to Ukraine, announced on July 7, 2023, in particular cluster 155-mm projectiles of the DPICM type.
At the same time, it seems that they have finally given up the concept that it is dangerous to give some kind of weapon to Ukraine, which, in particular, adds some optimism regarding the prospects for ATACMS for the Armed Forces. Because in the case of cluster munitions, US President Joseph Biden stated the following maxim – “if such weapons are not given to the Armed Forces, then exactly then the civilian population of Ukraine will suffer, but at the hands of the Russian occupiers.”
Judging by the reports of the Western media, we will receive a sufficiently large number of DPICM-type projectiles, which is calculated at the level of several hundreds of thousands of units, so that it will have a sufficiently significant impact on the course of events on the battlefield. But here, it is important to specify what special characteristics the 155-mm DPICM cluster shells have and how they can accelerate the pace of destruction of the occupiers. We can find the answer to this, particularly in this publication of The Drive portal, dedicated to DPICM.
To begin with, the authors of the publication specify that this is essentially the second generation of cluster ammunition of the US Army; the previous one had the index ICM. Still, such shells were intended only for the destruction of enemy infantry. While DPICMs are designed both to destroy enemy armored vehicles and to work on “soft targets,” such as unarmored vehicles and enemy infantry.
A separate important clarification is also that the Americans can have not only DPICM shells not only of 155-mm caliber but also of 105-mm and 203-mm calibers in their warehouses.
The possibility that the US Army also has a certain number of unguided rockets of the M26 type for the M270 MLRS and M142 HIMARS systems should not be excluded. And all this means that in the future, the range of supplies of cluster munitions from the USA to the Armed Forces may even increase under favorable political conditions.
The authors of The Drive describe the general principle of operation of “cassettes” in DPICM shells as follows – from the outside, such a “cassette” looks like a grenade for an automatic grenade launcher, equipped with something like a “parachute” designed to stabilize this ammunition when it falls. But instead of classic high-explosive equipment, a cumulative charge and a specially designed shell are used there, which, when the ammunition is detonated, should literally shower the enemy with a hail of fragments.
An important technical detail – “cassettes” of DPICM projectiles fall out of the hull’s rear during the flight’s final stage, while the projectile shell itself simply falls to the ground.
The actual area affected by cluster munitions may vary depending on various characteristics, including the height of the munitions’ detonation and other “dynamic conditions.” But even here, we can cite the ratio that if a “classic” high-explosive projectile of 155 mm caliber “covers” a radius of approximately 50 meters when detonated, then a cluster projectile covers a radius of at least 100 meters.
This characteristic with the overlap radius is important not only from the point of view that the “cassettes” can cover the racist infantry literally in the trenches. But also – that the use of such ammunition gives the occupiers less time to find shelter for their infantry and gives fewer opportunities for maneuvering reserves, which in turn gives more operational opportunities for the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation in terms of exhausting the defense lines of the Russian army in the South and near Bakhmut.