The official representative of the Russian Defense Ministry, Igor Konashenkov, announced the destruction of two launchers of American HIMARS (High Mobility Artillery Rocket System) multiple launch rocket systems (MLRS) in the territory of Donetsk (DPR).
“In the area of the settlement of Malotaranovka in the Donetsk People’s Republic, high-precision air-launched missiles destroyed two US-made HIMARS multiple launch rocket launchers and two ammunition depots for them,” Konashenkov said.
In addition, a platoon of the Uragan MLRS was destroyed, three artillery platoons at firing positions in the Dzerzhinsk and Leninskoye regions (DPR) and a platoon of the Grad MLRS near the village of Voskresenskoye, Mykolaiv region, were hit.
HIMARS is a key weapon for Ukraine
Aleksey Arestovich, an adviser in the office of the President of Ukraine, during a conversation on a YouTube channel with a former Russian lawyer Mark Feygin (of Pussy Riot fame), who is in the list of foreign agents by the Ministry of Justice of Russia, said that artillery parity (between Russia and Ukraine, Ed.) had almost been reached at the fronts. According to him, Western weapons supplied to the Armed Forces of Ukraine played a key role in the “turning point” of the situation.
One of the key points he noted was the availability of American HIMARS on the front. According to him, this high-precision weapon very effectively destroys warehouses and headquarters of the Russian Armed Forces, “drastically reducing our artillery’s intensity”. At the same time, he added that the Armed Forces of Ukraine have only four units of such systems. He told the former lawyer that Ukraine would require 50 HIMARS MRLS systems.
HIMARS MRLS in Ukraine
A Ukrainian intelligence agency published a report on the night of April 22-23 saying that the Armed Forces of Ukraine struck the positions of the Russians near Novobakhmutka in the Donetsk region. The report, as per Ukrainian news sites, said the Armed Forces of Ukraine used the latest samples of MLRS provided by partner countries, which caused horror and panic among the personnel of the occupiers. The publication was also accompanied by a photo of the American M270 universal launcher. Perhaps the General Directorate of Intelligence allowed itself to hint about the arrival in Ukraine and the use of M270 and M142 HIMARS launchers.
In June, the U.S. announced the delivery of M142 HIMARS Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS) to Ukraine. The U.K. also announced the delivery of M270 MRLS, also of American make, to Ukraine.
The Biden administration said that all the eight HIMARS would be delivered to Ukraine by mid-July. As per open sources, the U.K. has delivered 12 M270’s so far.
The M270 MLRS is in service with 17 countries worldwide, most of which are part of the so-called “contact group on Ukraine.” Notably, Poland sent a request to the United States to acquire a large batch of M270 MLRS. There is a high probability that a significant part of this batch is re-export to Ukraine.
One of the conditions by the Western nations is that Ukraine cannot use HIMARS or other weapons supplied to it to strike Russian territory. As per Ukrainian media, the country has received HIMARS without long-range munitions. But, this claim is questionable.
The 227mm HIMARS system was developed based on the FMTV wheeled chassis weighing 5 tons. The M270 MLRS (Multiple Launch Rocket System) is also a versatile launcher mounted on the tracked base of the American Bradley platform. By and large, this MLRS is a heavy version of HIMARS.
Both use two types of ammunition. The first is the MFOM (MLRS Family of Munitions), which are unguided and guided rockets. Their nomenclature is extensive, and the firing range ranges from 40 to 80 km.
The second is the AFOM (Army TACMS Family of Munitions, ATACMS) ammunition, which includes several types of tactical ballistic missiles. The firing distance of these munitions is in the range of 165 to 300 km, and according to some reports, even up to 400 km. The question of deliveries of AFOM to Ukraine is still open. There is no official data on this. Germany is developing JFS-M projectiles for use on HIMARS, but it is a futuristic project.
Russian reaction to the supply of HIMARS
On June 5th, Russian President Vladimir Putin had said that Washington’s decision to supply Kyiv with HIMARS multiple launch rocket systems would fundamentally change nothing. “These multiple rocket launchers – they are in service with the Ukrainian army – are similar systems of Soviet, Russian production Grad, Smerch, Uragan,” said Putin.