You’ve probably heard that the column of Russian tanks heading for Kyiv was stalled for a while and then broke up. The main reason Russian tanks have had such a hard time in Ukraine is a small anti-tank missile called the NLAW which stands for Next Generation Light Anti-tank Weapon. The NLAW is actually a joint venture between Sweden and the UK. It was developed by Saab but is assembled in Norther Ireland for the British military. And fortunately, Britain was already sent thousands of them to Ukraine.
In video after video taken in Ukraine, a puff of smoke and a brief flash of light signal that another clutch of Russian troops are about to die.
Sometimes it is only a split second before that light streaks to a tank or armored vehicle that suddenly erupts in smoke and flame, often bursting from within as ammunition inside explodes.
Rewinding these videos a bit often shows Ukrainian soldiers before the attack, patrolling to an ambush point with large green tubes carried on their backs — each one a gift from Britain…
Compared to the American-made Javelin antitank weapon, which has been hailed by officials at the Pentagon and the White House and sent to Ukraine by the thousands, the NLAW weighs about half as much, costs far less, can be easily discarded, and is optimized for use in the relatively short-range fights Ukrainian soldiers are getting into with the invading Russian forces…
A British diplomat, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss defensive aid, said Britain had sent more than 4,200 NLAWs to Ukraine.
Allahpundit posted this video of an NLAW ambush on a Russian tank column last Friday.
— ConflictsWorldwide (@ConflictsWW) March 11, 2022
On Sunday the London Times reported that President Zelensky serenaded Prime Minister Boris Johnson on the phone in gratitude for the NLAWs. According to the story PM Boris Johnson and defense secretary Ben Wallace had to argue with British intelligence in order to convince them to send the weapons just prior to the invasion. At the time, the conventional wisdom was that Putin wouldn’t invade. It’s behind a paywall at the Times but here’s the relevant portion about the serenade.
Zelensky and Johnson's NLAW banter is quite something to behold pic.twitter.com/lSFeoZ93Ns
— Josh Glancy (@joshglancy) March 13, 2022
British journalists got the same “God Save the Queen” greeting from Ukrainian soldiers learning to use the weapon:
‘God Save the Queen!’ bellowed Lieutenant Colonel Ihor Bezogluk, as he welcomed MailOnline journalists to a base 50 miles north of Kyiv where his troops were training to use the NLAWS (Next generation Light Anti-Tank Weapons).
He and the men and women of 72nd Mechanised Brigade, whose skull emblem bears the motto ‘Ukraine or Death’, said the missiles were nothing short of a ‘game changer’ for their armed forces.
‘Thank you to Great Britain for giving us the NLAWS – anything that can help us to defend our country is very well-received,’ said Lt Col Bezogluk, 50 at Desna training camp, where an old Soviet T-52 tank on a plinth greets visitors.
‘These missiles have changed the war for us. It means we can fight the Russians and it doesn’t matter how many of them there are now that we have a way of stopping their armour. The Russians cannot scare us with numbers anymore.
Even soldiers on the battlefield have thanked the British (in English).
A #Ukrainian solider thanks the #British for sending anti-tank weapons (NLAW) that were used to help destroy a #Russian tank near #Kyiv:
“I want to say a big thank you to our British comrades for helping us."#UkraineRussiaWar #StopPutinNOW #Ukraine️ #England pic.twitter.com/c9mDRvKSj7
— Ukraine News Now (@NewUkraineNews) March 14, 2022
MSNBC recently had a Washington Post war correspondent on who had a story involving the NLAW.
"When I asked him what happens if, at some point, if Russian tanks do come through? Then one of the commanders went and grabbed an NLAW anti-tank missile which was inside a warehouse, and basically said, 'We're ready.'" @raghavanWaPo is reporting from the front lines in Ukraine. pic.twitter.com/KNrbLSzvHM
— Maddow Blog (@MaddowBlog) March 16, 2022
All of that to say, the Ukrainians really do see the NLAW and the US Javelin as game changers that have given them a chance to fight back against Russian tanks and armored vehicles.