Car Modification

Ukrainians Flip Private Automobiles Into ‘Technicals’ to Battle Russia

  • Help from overseas governments and civilians has flowed to Ukraine since Russia attacked in February.
  • A lot of it has been navy help, however Ukrainians are additionally repurposing donations for battlefield use.
  • Amongst these repurposed property are technicals, which give troops much-needed mobility and firepower.

Within the six months since Russia launched its renewed assault on Ukraine, the US and its NATO allies have despatched billions of {dollars}’ value of contemporary weaponry that has helped Kyiv maintain the road and, in latest weeks, flip the tide in opposition to Moscow.

Though Ukraine’s forces have benefited tremendously from that safety help, they’ve additionally put their creativity to work, devising ingenious methods to show what they’ve available into lethal weapons.

There’s in all probability no higher instance of this than their conversion of pickup vehicles and SUVs into militarized automobiles often called “technicals.”

Technicals in opposition to Russia

Ukraine Poland military vehicles

A convoy with navy provides, together with donated automobiles, head to Ukraine on a Polish freeway on March 16.

Arturas Morozovas for The Washington Put up through Getty Photographs


The Ukrainians have proven exceptional ingenuity of their struggle in opposition to Russian forces. They’ve developed an anti-ship missile, the Neptune, that Kyiv mentioned was used to sink the flagship of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, the Moskva.

They’ve additionally developed a big arsenal of unmanned aerial techniques by taking business drones and turning them into grenade-lobbing machines which can be killing, maiming, and intimidating Russian troops.

Inside a couple of weeks of the beginning of Russia’s assault on February 24, retailers and small factories had popped up inside and outdoors of Ukraine to transform pickup vehicles and SUVs — a lot of them donated from overseas — into battlefield automobiles, including armor, weapons mounts, and decorations earlier than handing them over to Ukrainians.

Anonymous Ukrainian soldiers with a Cars4Ukraine vehicle

Ukrainian troopers with a automobile being modified for navy operations as a part of the Cars4Ukraine undertaking.

Ivan Oleksii


Technicals are comparatively simple to make and do not require specialised coaching to function, and photographs from the bottom reveals that Ukrainians have been fairly inventive in utilizing them.

The usual configuration of Ukrainian technicals has a heavy machine gun — normally a Soviet-origin 12.7mm or a Western-designed .50-caliber weapon — on the again of the automobile, however different ingenious modifications have been seen in motion.

In a single occasion, a Ukrainian unit used technicals to create cell hunter-killer cell anti-aircraft groups that might transfer round and have interaction Russian plane and drones. A video from the unit reveals a small group of Ukrainians dismounting after recognizing an enemy goal and interesting it with FIM-92 Stinger missiles.

Ukraine donated military vehicle spray paint

Volunteers in Vilnius, Lithuania, spray paint a automotive for Ukrainian troopers on March 12, 2022.

Arturas Morozovas for The Washington Put up through Getty Photographs


In one other instance, a Ukrainian unit turned a technical right into a makeshift a number of launch rocket system, lobbing rockets at Russian positions earlier than shifting to a brand new firing place.

In one more case, Ukrainian troops used technicals as hunter-killer anti-tank units, firing FGM-148 Javelin anti-tank missiles from Peugeot pickup vehicles.

Ukrainian forces are also using technicals to maneuver across the battlefield rapidly, permitting them to counter Russia’s counter-battery hearth.

“The platform affords a lot flexibility it is silly to not use,” a retired US Military Delta Pressure operator informed Insider.

Ukrainian troops fire multiple launch rocket system from pickup truck

Ukrainian troops hearth a a number of launch rocket system mounted on a donated utilizing Mitsubishi pickup truck in June 2022.


Ukrainian Defense Ministry



“Granted, we used them as a result of they allowed us to mix into the surroundings and get nearer to the goal with out getting shot at, however the Ukrainians are utilizing them as a result of that is among the issues that’s out there to them,” the retired operator added, talking on the situation of anonymity due to ongoing work with the federal government.

In April, Boris Johnson, the British prime minister on the time, mentioned the UK was the opportunity of sending technicals armed with Brimstone missiles to offer Ukraine’s navy a cell anti-ship functionality.

“From what I’ve seen, the technical has stood as much as the challenges of a modern-day, typical battlefield,” the retired operator mentioned. “Though the air area remains to be contested and neither aspect enjoys the essential air superiority, the Ukrainian technical is faring nicely in opposition to a correct navy.”

The beginning of the technical

Afghanistan Taliban Stinger missile airliner

Taliban troopers, armed with US-made Stinger missiles, in a truck in Kandahar on December 30, 1999.

(AP Picture/B.Okay. Bangash, File)


Automobiles carrying heavy weapons and closely armed fighters have been a staple of contemporary battlefields, however “technicals” gained notoriety within the early days of the US-led warfare on terror.

CIA paramilitary officers and US and UK particular operators began utilizing them in earnest in Afghanistan in 2001. Progressively, the technical grew to become a vital a part of a special-operations group’s equipment. (The specter of improvised explosive gadgets ultimately pressured US troops into extra closely armored automobiles.)

“We used them each probability we received as a result of they have been simple to drive and will go nearly in all places,” the retired Delta operator mentioned of technicals, calling them “one of many emblems” of the warfare on terror.

“So far as one of the best automobile to show right into a technical, arms down the Toyota Hilux,” the retired operator added. “That factor can take some severe beating and preserve operating.”

US troops pickup trucks technicals C-17 Syria

US troops load modified pickup vehicles onto a C-17 through the US-led coalition’s withdraw from northern Syria in October 2019.

US Military Reserve/Employees Sgt. Joshua Hammock


Delta Pressure — a tier-one particular missions unit specializing in hostage-rescue and counterterrorism operations — developed its personal technicals that seemed like abnormal Toyotas however have been outfitted with smoke grenades, radios, and bulletproof home windows.

The apply unfold. US Military Inexperienced Berets, Navy SEALs, and operators from different coalition militaries began utilizing technicals to mix in and transfer successfully.

“We made them appear like they have been simply one other automobile” that will been seen in a Center Jap nation, the retired operator mentioned. “That provided us an additional layer of safety, because the enemy, or anybody else for the matter of truth, could not inform we have been Individuals from afar.”

Stavros Atlamazoglou is a protection journalist specializing in particular operations, a Hellenic Military veteran (nationwide service with the 575th Marine Battalion and Military HQ), and a Johns Hopkins College graduate. He’s at the moment working towards a grasp’s diploma in technique and cybersecurity on the Johns Hopkins College of Superior Worldwide Research.

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