As part of the latest presidential drawdown package for Ukraine — this one worth $700 million dollars — the U.S. Defense Department has included four M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, or HIMARS. The M142 HIMARS system allows for the launching of multiple, precision-guided rockets. Along with the HIMARS system, the department is also including the Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System to be used with HIMARS. Those rockets are capable of hitting a target more than 40 miles away. Before that transfer happens, the U.S. will provide training on the system to both Ukrainian users and maintainers.
“What the HIMARS will allow them to do is to get greater standoff. Right now, the Howitzers we provided them have about a 30 km range; the HIMARS have more than twice that, which will allow them — even with fewer systems — greater standoff. The HIMARS system also provides increased precision. These are precision guided systems with extended range. For high value targets, that, that allows them to keep some of the pressure off of Ukrainian forces on the front, which we think these systems will be very useful,” said Colin H. Kahl, undersecretary of defense for policy, during a briefing today at the Pentagon.
In addition to the four HIMARS systems, this latest package of equipment for Ukraine will include five counter-artillery radar systems; two air-surveillance radars; 1,000 Javelins and 50 command launch units; 6,000 antiarmor weapons; 15,000 155-mm artillery rounds; four Mi-17 helicopters; 15 tactical vehicles; and additional spare parts and equipment. Since the unprovoked invasion of Ukraine by Russia on February 24, the U.S. has provided $4.6 billion in assistance to Ukraine. Recently, Congress approved, and the president signed, an additional $40 billion in support to Ukraine — $8 billion of that is for additional presidential drawdown authority.
The M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) is a light multiple rocket launcher developed in the late 1990s for the United States Army, mounted on a standard Army M1140 truck frame. The HIMARS carries six rockets or one MGM-140 ATACMS missile on the U.S. Army’s new Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles (FMTV) five-ton truck and can launch the entire Multiple Launch Rocket System Family of Munitions (MFOM). HIMARS ammunition is interchangeable with the MLRS M270A1; however, it is only able to carry one pod rather than the standard two for the M270 and A1 variants. The HIMARS launcher is C-130 transportable.