May 18, 2023:
The success of Ukrainian forces in defeating the Russian invaders was not just the quality of Ukrainian troops but the resourcefulness of Ukrainian civilians in supplying the troops with novel equipment and weapons. A recent example is an inexpensive and easy to manufacture Trembita cruise missile. This hundred kg (220 pound) missile uses a gasoline engine and GPS guidance with a top speed of 150 kilometers an hour and max range of nearly 500 kilometers. The 20 kg (44 pound) thermobaric warhead is meant to do maximum damage to enemy anti-aircraft systems.
Trembita was designed to be used in large numbers (20 to 30 missile swarms) to overwhelm Russian anti-aircraft systems and the limited supply of anti-aircraft missiles. These swarm tactics enable Ukrainians to then send in aircraft or larger missiles against Russian targets. Trembita has a max altitude of 2,000 meters (over 6,000 feet) and a minimum altitude of 30 meters (about a hundred feet). Because precision accuracy is not needed, jam-proof and less accurate INS guidance can be used.
Trembita is, as amateur inventors and programmers describe it, an “excellent hack.” Many similar hacks have come to life providing the Ukrainian forces with all manner useful items the Russians don’t and can’t seem to develop.