HIMARS: The high-tech rocket system the US plans to send to Ukraine

HIMARS: The high-tech rocket system the US plans to send to Ukraine

The United States is sending high-tech, truck-mounted rocket systems to Ukraine as the country continues to defend itself from Russian invasion. Ukraine’s leaders have been asking for these weapons, which they say could be critical to their success in the war with Russia, now in its fourth month. US President Joe Biden said on Monday that his administration would not send weapons to Ukraine that could attack Russia.

But in an editorial published in the New York Times on Tuesday, he confirmed that the United States “will provide the Ukrainians with more advanced missile systems and ammunition that will allow them to more accurately strike key targets on the battlefield in Ukraine.”

Officials said Ukraine would be sent the High Mobility Artillery Missile System (HIMARS), as part of a new $700 million (€653 million) round of support for Ukraine. This support package also includes helicopters, Javelin anti-tank weapon systems, tactical vehicles…

Ukraine has relied heavily on weapons and equipment sent by its allies in its defense against Russia’s military forces.

Allies like the US have been careful to strike a balance between providing the country with the equipment it needs and avoiding an escalation of the conflict outside Ukraine’s borders.

HIMARS: “Shoot and run”

The manufacturer, Lockheed Martin, explains that the M142 HIMARS has the ability to “shoot and glide,” referring to the fact that it is a highly mobile weapon system that can fire and move at high speeds, reducing the chance of be attacked by the enemy.

It is a truck mounted multiple launch missile system with space for up to six rockets. The HIMAR can move into position, fire, withdraw and reload in a matter of minutes.

Mark Hertling, former Commanding General of the United States Army Europe, detailed the characteristics of the HIMAR in a Twitter thread, stating that it moves fast, provides a “faster attack” but a “smaller hit” and is “more easy”. to resupply and hold” than previous multiple missile systems.

The system the United States is expected to send can launch a medium-range missile. It is also capable of firing long-range missiles, but these are not expected to be included in the package being sent to Ukraine.

A US official noted that these particular advanced rocket systems will give Ukrainian forces greater precision in targeting Russian assets inside Ukraine.

The expectation is that Ukraine could use the missiles in the eastern Donbas region, where they could intercept Russian artillery and eliminate Russian positions in cities where fighting is intense, such as Severodonetsk.

Ukraine needs multiple rocket launch systems, said Philip Breedlove, a retired US Air Force general and NATO’s top commander from 2013 to 2016.

“These are very important capabilities that we have not yet obtained. And not only do they need them, but they have been very vociferous in explaining that they want them,” he said.

“We need to get serious about supplying this military so it can do what the world asks it to do: fight alone against a global superpower on the battlefield.”

US forces have used HIMARS in multiple conflicts since 2010, including in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria.

The latest US arms package to Ukraine is expected to be officially unveiled on Wednesday.

It is the 11th US support package so far during the conflict.

Ben Oakley
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