On June 25, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense released a video showing M142 HIMARS multiple rocket launchers recently supplied by the US in action for the first time.
The short video shows two HIMARS, High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, taking position in an unspecified part of Ukraine, then firing just three rockets. The Ukrainian MoD didn’t provide any information on the nature of the target or clarify if the strike was successful.
Kiev forces received the first batch of HIMARS launchers early on in the week. The batch is a part of four launchers the US promised to supply on June 1.
The HIMARS supplied to Ukraine are said to be armed with M30/M31 series GMLRS precision-guided rockets, which have a range of more than 70 kilometers. GMLRS rockets are guided by a GPS-aided inertial navigation system and a have a circular error probable of one meter. Each launcher can be loaded with a pod of six rockets.
As a part of a new military aid package announced by the US on June 23, Ukraine will receive four addition HIMARS launchers. The country will also receive other systems that can fire GMLRS rockets. The UK will provide three M270B1 MRLS launchers, while Germany will supply three M270A1 MARS II launchers.
The HIMARS system is highly effective, especially when armed with GMLRS precision-guided rockets. However, like any other weapon system it can be detected and destroyed.
The Russian military will likely use its air defense means to limit the effectiveness of GMLRS rockets, and its counter-battery capabilities, which include counter-battery radars, reconnaissance drones and precision fire, to neutralize HIMARS launchers.
As for deterrence, Russia has already warned Ukraine that it will respond to any attack on its territory with Western-supplied weapons like the HIMARS by destroyed “decision making centers” in Kiev and other areas.
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