The Himars missile launchers supplied by the United States to Ukraine tipped the scales against Russia, giving Kiev a new boost on the battlefield.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in his traditional evening statement yesterday that the Ukrainian Armed Forces were able to inflict “significant logistical losses” against the Russians and “increased the difficulty for Russian troops to hold positions in the captured territory – especially in eastern Ukraine”. , the main focus of the war at the time.
Ukrainian troop commander Valerii Zaluzhnyi said the Himars are now an “important component” of the relative balance in the war. The statement was also made yesterday to the US Chief of Staff, Mark Milley.
Since mid-June, Ukraine has managed to destroy more than 20 large Russian ammunition depots and command centers using the Himars, targets previously inaccessible to conventional artillery.
Videos posted on social media show explosions at ammunition depots, particularly in Lugansk, New Kakhovka, and other Russian-controlled locations, testing the power and accuracy of this new weapon.
Experts believe that these new systems are not a permanent solution and that Ukraine needs more weapons and radar systems to defeat the Russians.
For Christopher Dougherty, an analyst at the Center for New American Security think tank in Washington, Himars does not disappoint. However, he adds, “the gun itself doesn’t change anything.”
M142 Himars (High Mobility Artillery Rocket System) is an armored mobile rocket launch platform capable of carrying 227 mm GPS guided missiles with a range of 30 to 500 kilometers, depending on the type of projectile used.
Unlike rocket systems used by both sides in combat, Himars missiles can be aimed at sensitive targets, making them more reliable.
Ukraine currently has 12 systems capable of launching six rockets and hundreds of ammunition at a time.
In addition to high hit rates, these rockets fly low and fast to avoid Russian air defenses. With their enormous mobility, they are very difficult to track down and destroy.
Since June, Ukraine has had high-precision artillery supplied by other allies, such as the French Ceasar howitzer, and last week the United States announced it could procure 1,000 rounds of new precision-guided artillery.
Analysts say the Russian military will eventually adapt and position their warehouses farther from the front lines, but this will complicate their logistics.
Also, the number of Russian trucks decreased due to the war.
Phillips O’Brien, professor of strategic studies at the University of St Andrews in Scotland, says the Himars systems are part of a broader strategy to target Russian logistics and force them to delay their air defenses.
This leaves Russian artillery on the front line, on Moscow’s main offensive card, less protected from Ukrainian air and ground forces.
Longer range missiles?
Meanwhile, Kyiv is pressing Washington to supply Himar-compatible ATACMS missiles with a range of 300 kilometers.
“Our officials are negotiating with US representatives at all levels about the need to provide us with missiles for the long-range Himars,” said Ukrainian lawmaker Fedir Venislavskyi.
So far, the White House has denied the possible use of certain weapons to attack targets on Russian soil that could plunge the United States and NATO directly into war.
*with information from AFP