(p. A1) From the sinking of the Moskva, Russia’s Black Sea flagship, in April  to the attack on a Russian air base in Crimea this month, Ukrainian troops have used American and other weapons in ways few expected, the experts and Defense Department officials say.
By mounting missiles onto trucks, for instance, Ukrainian forces have moved them more quickly into firing range. By putting rocket systems on speedboats, they have increased their naval warfare ability. And to the astonishment of weapons experts, Ukraine has continued to destroy Russian targets with slow-moving Turkish-made Bayraktar attack drones and inexpensive, plastic aircraft modified to drop grenades and other munitions.
“People are using the MacGyver metaphor,” said Frederick B. Hodges, a former top U.S. Army commander in Europe, in a reference to the 1980s TV show in which the title character uses simple, improvised contraptions to get himself out of sticky situations.
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(p. A10) . . ., the engineering ingenuity of the Ukrainians lies in stark contrast to the slow, plodding, doctrinal nature of the Russian advance.
In the attack on the Moskva, for example, the Ukrainians developed their own anti-ship missile, called the Neptune, which they based on the design of an old Soviet anti-ship missile, but with substantially improved range and electronics. They appear to have mounted the Neptune missiles onto one or more trucks, according to one senior American official, and moved them within range of the ship, which was around 75 miles from Odesa. The striking of the Moskva was, in essence, the Neptune’s proof of concept; it was the first time the new Ukrainian weapon was used in an actual war, and it took down Russia’s flagship in the Black Sea.
“With the Moskva, they MacGyvered a very effective anti-ship system that they put on the back of a truck to make it mobile and move it around,” General Hodges, who is now a senior adviser at Human Rights First, said in an interview.
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A senior Pentagon official said Ukrainian forces had put American-supplied HARM anti-radiation missiles on Soviet-designed MiG-29 fighter jets — something that no air force had ever done. The American HARM missile, designed to seek and destroy Russian air defense radar, is not usually compatible with the MiG-29 or the other fighter jets in Ukraine’s arsenal.
Ukraine managed to rejigger targeting sensors to allow pilots to fire the American missile from their Soviet-era aircraft. “They have actually successfully integrated it,” the senior official told reporters during a Pentagon briefing. He spoke on the condition of anonymity per Biden administration rules.
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. . . Ukraine conducted the first of the recent strikes in Crimea — a series of blasts at the Saki military airfield on Aug. 9  — without notifying American and other Western allies in advance, officials said.
“It’s all homegrown,” the official said, . . .
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(Note: ellipses, and bracketed years, added.)
(Note: the online version of the story has the date Aug. 28, 2022, and has the title “The ‘MacGyvered’ Weapons in Ukraine’s Arsenal.”)