The US Army Training Doctrine Command (TRADOC) has developed a deck of playing cards featuring 54 Nato weapon systems with the aim of helping troops identify Nato equipment that has been adopted by non-Nato countries and preventing friendly fire incidents.
Although the deck of cards was put into production before the full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, Nato anticipates that it will be of particular use in Ukraine, where billions of dollars of Nato equipment has been delivered to defend against the Russian war of aggression.
Each card depicts a piece of equipment used by a Nato ally, as well as supplemental information about the countries that use the platform and its main weapon, as well as the country of manufacture and other countries that have purchased it. Some systems delivered to Ukraine may be missing, as production began before military assistance began to be delivered. The systems were assigned random face values and suits. The release from Nato on 23 November highlights the seven of spades, which shows a German-made Gepard anti-aircraft gun, the five of diamonds, which depicts the French Eurocopter AS532 Cougar, and an eight of diamonds featuring a Slovak-made Dana SPH howitzer.
In July 2019, TRADOC released packs of cards depicting Russian, Iranian, North Korean and Chinese vehicles and weapons, with demand exhausting supply of an initial print run of 9,800 packs of cards within three weeks. However, the release faced some criticism, as images were sourced that depicted the export variants of certain platforms, without recognising that the export variants can differ considerably from the domestically used versions.
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It appears that the choice of a deck of Nato Proliferation Playing Cards has been finely chosen to avoid a repeat of the same mishap, identifying systems that are from a range of platforms intended to be standardised between nations.