Wed, 29 Nov 2023

WASHINGTON D.C.: Officials have said that the U.S. will send more high mobility artillery rocket system missiles, known as HIMARS, to Ukraine, including the Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System, a precision-guided system with a range of some 70 kilometers.

In a statement published by the Pentagon this week, Colin Kahl, the U.S. undersecretary of defense for policy, said, "The munitions themselves, these Guided Multiple Launch Rocket Systems, are having a very profound effect."

"This is a 200-pound warhead, it is kind of the equivalent of an airstrike, frankly, a precision-guided airstrike. These are GPS-guided munitions. They have been very effective in hitting things that previously the Ukrainians had difficulty hitting reliably," he added.

Ukrainians have already used the HIMARS, in combination with Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System rockets, to attack Russian targets, such as command and control nodes, sustainment and logistics hubs, and key radar systems.

Ukrainians forces said HIMARS have been used to strike over 30 Russian targets, though the Russians have not confirmed any strikes.

Highlighting Russia's concerns about HIMARS missiles, the Russian Defense Ministry said, on 18th July, that defense minister Sergei Shoigu ordered part of its forces in occupied territories in Ukraine to focus on destroying the systems.

Also this week, Russia's Defense Ministry said its troops had destroyed an ammunition depot near the Ukrainian city of Uman, which stored HIMARS and M777 howitzers.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky lauded the U.S. announcement of a new assistance package, which will also deliver more ammunition for those HIMARS already sent to Kyiv.

The Pentagon said the other weapons that will be provided to Ukraine as part of the latest assistance package will include 75,000 rounds of 155 mm artillery ammunition, twenty 120 mm mortar systems and 20,000 rounds of 120 mm mortar ammunition, munitions for the National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems, and 1,000 Javelin and hundreds of AT4 anti-armor systems, according to the Pentagon.

What's not included in the assistance package is a weapon that Ukrainian leaders have long been requesting from the U.S., but have so far been denied: fighter jets.

Ukraine officials, including Zelensky, made multiple requests for fighter jets during the first weeks of the war, but were rebuffed by U.S. and Western officials.

Speaking in Washington, Kahl said that for the U.S. the "overwhelming priority right now is getting the Ukrainians things that are relevant for the current fight."

"I think there are real questions about what would be most useful, in terms of assisting the Ukrainian air force in improving its capabilities," he added.

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