Ever since the Russian assault on Ukraine began, portable missiles received from the west have wreaked havoc on Russian aircraft and tanks and impeded the rapid progress of the invading troops.
Now, in an astounding move, these portable missiles are being carried and fired from electric bikes.
One of the most widely used portable missiles in Ukraine has been the British Next-Generation Light Anti-Tank Weapon (NLAW), which the UK first delivered in January.
Before the conflict, the UK government had already delivered roughly 2,000 of these weapons to Ukraine, with several consignments arriving in subsequent months.
These missiles, earlier launched manually, are now being carried on electric bikes. These bikes used by Ukrainian defenders have been modified to carry NLAW rockets, which are designed to allow a single operator to kill an enemy tank, according to Electrek.
The rockets are designed to be carried by troops and are human-portable, but the 28 pounds (12.5 kg) weapon is much easier to transport over long distances when carried on the back of an electric bike.
While portable anti-tank weapons like these have proved to be a game-changer in Ukraine’s effort to protect its territory against a Russian takeover, it has significant risk attached to them.
— Heuvelrug Intelligence (@HillridgeOSINT) May 17, 2022
For a Ukrainian soldier or volunteer, firing an NLAW or a similar US Javelin missile in an open location is extremely dangerous, as it often exposes the operator to the opponent tank’s main cannon or several heavy machine guns.
However, the use of a high-powered electric bike to get to a firing position quickly and discreetly can reduce the soldier’s exposure and boost the chances of success.
The Ukrainian military is already using a variety of light electric two-wheelers in a variety of imaginative ways to repel the invading Russian forces.
Delfast, a Ukrainian electric motorcycle startup, has seen its bikes employed assisting Ukrainian forces in striking a David vs. Goliath blow against Russia’s barbarous invasion of their nation.
The electric dirt bikes have functional pedals and a range of over 200 miles or 320 kilometers. With a hand throttle, riders can use the pedals as footrests as needed, allowing them to concentrate on maintaining pace and traversing difficult terrain.
The bikes can attain speeds of up to 50 mph (80 km/h) when pushed hard.
Their long-travel suspension and capacity to carry hefty loads make them ideal for negotiating forested paths or over-landing when there are no trails.
Mamuka Mamulashvili, Commander of the Georgian legion, earlier told The War Zone that he wanted electric bikes for his sniper teams. He said that he required a swift, silent vehicle to transport sniper teams to a site where they could fire bullets for five to ten minutes before the Russians rained artillery down on their position. The electric bike was the answer.
The commander of the Georgian Legion riding an ELEEK Atom electric bicycle in eastern Ukraine.
The bikes have become very popular since they make it possible to move silently on the front lines or even behind enemy lines.
— Visegrád 24 (@visegrad24) May 14, 2022
ELEEK, a local Ukrainian firm, has also provided the country’s armed forces with silent, powerful electric motorcycles for use on the battlefield. Sniper squads were asked to use the electric motorbikes in that case.
These bikes also have optional USB for charging gadgets and a 220V socket, so the additional heavy battery is now allowed.
They have similar benefits to the NLAW-carrying electric bikes in that they allow Ukrainian operators to reach a firing position more quietly and in less time than rucking in on foot.
A key advantage of using these electric bikes is that they also improve communications in regions where Russians use electronic warfare to disrupt signals – battlefield courier correspondence with messengers on motorcycles is a tried-and-trusted method.
They can also transport small cargo and provide medical assistance to wounded soldiers via traveling medics.
Electric Bikes – Military’s Personal Favorite
Electric motorbikes and e-bikes are increasingly being used by the military around the world, thanks to new battery technology and the maturity of electric automobiles.
Norway’s military forces started testing fat tire electric bicycles in border guard patrols as early as 2018.
When the New Zealand Defense Forces began testing UBCO’s electric utility bikes in 2020, they also undertook patrol responsibilities. Since last year, the Australian military has also been recording stealth electric bikes.
Multiple Special Forces groups in Europe and the Middle East have also tested high-powered electric mountain bikes for use in the field, with paratroopers even air-dropping electric dirt motorcycles onto the battlefield.
In the United States, DARPA was tasked with developing a new stealth motorcycle for the military in 2014. A motorcycle with little engine noise was required so that the rider could keep the element of surprise over an enemy.
They’d also need to be more adaptable than electric bikes, with a longer range than gasoline-powered motorbikes. At the 2016 Special Operations Forces Industry Conference, two prototypes were on show.
Gauging from the popularity that electric bikes have found in militaries around the world, they could soon become an intrinsic part of modern-day warfare.