Why Ukraine Wants This High-Tech American Rocket Launcher
Ukraine continues to request Western assistance to fend off Russian aggression, and the precise rockets of the U.S.-made HIMARS weapon system are in high demand. Who makes this lethal rocket launcher and why is it so effective?
Artillery has quickly become the most important weapon in Ukraine’s war with Russia.
Ukrainian forces have begun to use newer Western artillery, like the M777 Howitzer, in the battlefield. But a different kind of weapon has had a bigger impact. The American-made High Mobility Artillery Rocket System, aka HIMARS, has been a major high-tech upgrade for Ukraine’s military.
“The introduction of the HIMARS rocket artillery to Ukraine has been significant,” said George Barros, a geospatial analyst at the Institute for the Study of War. “That has changed the battlefield quite a lot. And it really goes to show that Western aid to Ukraine is not just paper pushing or symbolic.”
Ukrainian forces claimed to have already used the HIMARS to take out ammunition dumps, command posts and other high-value targets. Providing this high-tech system could help Ukraine blunt Russian advances and change the direction of the conflict.
“What the United States needs to do is to have a strategy to bring this war to an early end,” said George Beebe, director of grand strategy at the Quincy Institute. “That means not only convincing the Russians that they can’t win on the battlefield but also showing them that should they make concessions at the negotiating table.”
Watch the video above to find out more about how the high-tech, American-made mobile-rocket artillery system known as HIMARS could help Ukrainian forces repel the Russian invasion, and why some fear the potent weapon could lead to further escalation of hostilities between Russia and the West.
Artillery has quickly become one of the most important
weapons as Ukraine continues to fight off a
Kyiv has started to use the newer Western artillery,
like the M777 Howitzer.
But a different kind of weapon has perhaps had a
The high mobility artillery rocket system, or himars for
short, is a high tech upgrade for Ukraine.
That could be a game changer as Russian forces
try to advance in the Donbass. They too are
relying on massive artillery barrages to soften
Artillery is often called the king of battle because
it’s able to destroy targets at greater
distances, greater ranges.
The introduction of the himars rocket artillery to
Ukraine’s have has been significant.
That has changed the battlefield quite a lot.
The US is providing guided rockets that can hit precise
targets up to 50 miles away to go with the 16 M 142 hi
mars launchers slated for Ukraine from.
What we’re seeing.
It has been very, very effective because of the
reach that Ukrainian artillery lacks and of
course, the precision.
Ukrainian forces have claimed to have already used
the himars to take out ammunition dumps, command
posts and other high value targets.
The reason why you have a large ammunition dump close
to your front line is because that’s honest to
goodness. What you actually need to maintain an
artillery campaign of the scale which the Russians
We don’t want to cross over a line where we’ve
provided the Ukrainians with so much capability that
it, in fact, could cause the Russians to believe they
have to escalate in response.
With winter around the corner and the poor fighting
conditions that come with it.
We’re starting to see the tempo of ground assaults and
operations in Eastern Ukraine intensify.
What happens in Ukraine now could make or break Kyiv’s
fortunes against the Russian onslaught.
The US has invested heavily in the guided multiple
launch rocket system, of which high Mars is one
launcher that can employ these deadly munitions.
It’s also smaller than the M170 multiple launch rocket
system and wheeled, which makes it faster.
The Ukrainians have likely degraded the Russians
ability to use artillery at mass.
In particular, the Ukrainian strikes with the
US provided high Mars rocket artillery systems
have actually increased the Ukrainians military
capability to be able to strike key Russian military
targets, which are necessary for sustaining
Russian artillery campaigns.
One fears that giving Ukraine weapons that can be
used to strike deep into Russia could lead to nuclear
war. The himars system can also launch what is known as
the Army tactical missile system that can hit targets
more than 100 miles away.
Much further than the rockets currently being
provided. Ukraine isn’t getting this top end
missile. The US also made striking targets inside of
Russia off limits as a precondition to handing over
the himars to avoid escalation.
We don’t want to get into a situation where we’ve
crossed some kind of red line that makes prospects of
a direct war between Russia and the United States or
Russia and a NATO member.
Much more likely that we also have to convince Putin
that he can’t win this on the battlefield, that the
United States will back the Ukrainians for as long as
necessary with whatever equipment is necessary to
make sure that Putin can’t win.
Training crews to use the system is also a
The Ukrainians were exceptional and to adapting
these new systems very fast and efficiently.
Based on reports that I’ve seen, required only about
three weeks of training for the first four systems that
came in, and then they were able to go straight out into
the field. And we’ve seen some success.
Giant defense contractor Lockheed Martin makes the
high marks it is capable of firing GPS guided long range
rockets, which are what the US has provided to Ukraine.
But it can also fire larger rockets capable of hitting
targets hundreds of kilometers away.
A deal with Estonia for himars could cost the Baltic
nation $500 million.
Australia wants to spend up to 385 million to buy some,
and Taiwan plans to shell out 430 million for the
Poland, a NATO’s ally that borders Ukraine, has also
expressed interest in himars. Other buyers include
Romania and Singapore.
In fiscal year 2022, the US is buying 6374 items that
are considered parts of the guided multiple launch
rocket system, which includes himars at a cost of
In April, the DOD signed a contract worth over 204
million to buy new M142 systems.
With so much demand, the supply chain is stretched to
Even Lockheed Martin has said that they’re going to
have to ramp up production lines to keep up with what
Ukraine needs versus what we need for our own
stockpiles. So there is going to have to be some
adjusting. And I know that that’s a big concern across
not just us defense industry, but also in Europe
Meanwhile, Ukraine is adapting to the realities of
adopting dozens of new weapon systems over a short
period of time.
Ukraine is becoming one of one of the few countries,
and in the future it might be almost the first country
in, well size wise in Europe that is so well
equipped with NATO’s standard weapons.
And on top of that, it’s not part of NATO’s.
As President Joe Biden began a trip to the Middle East in
July, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, undertook
his own trip to Iran.
Tehran has developed a potent aerospace industry
over the last three decades, and it has
specialized in making small guided drones that can be
loaded with high explosives.
Well, I don’t think that it’s accidental that Putin
has gone to Iran at the very same time that
President Biden has gone to the Middle East.
He’s sending some messages here.
As himars continues to destroy key Russian targets.
Moscow is looking for ways to offset this newly
deployed rocket launcher that could include Iranian
They’ve been able to strike Russian ammunition depots
that they’ve been using to supply their own artillery
strikes against Ukraine.
And it has had devastating effect on those ammunition
depots. Now, I’m quite certain that the Russians
are going to make some adjustments here.
Iranian weapons could be used to try and find and
take out himars or M777 sites by the Russians.
So I think what the Russians are likely trying to do is
they’re trying to increase their intelligence,
surveillance and reconnaissance capability in
order to use their artillery and other attacks
more effectively against Ukrainian forces for
They also say the Russians also likely seek new strike
capability so they can try to take out these higher end
Ukrainian systems, which are actually changing the
battlefield calculus quite significantly.
Ukraine continues to hold out against the Russians and
might be launching a counter-offensive soon.
This might be sort of the first time that Ukraine is
going to move and try to reclaim, reclaim lost land.
You’ve got more precise weaponry at a much greater
range power and the ability to get out of the way and
not be detected all lumped into one capability.
So it’s very effective.
So Russia, I’m sure, feels very threatened and is
feeling that, I think particularly in the Donbass
region where they’re using it.
Our current assessment is that the Ukrainians are
likely setting conditions to conduct the
counteroffensive in the south. The south is
extremely important for Ukraine, particularly
because of the strategic access to the Black Sea
waters, because that’s very important for Ukraine
shipping. If Ukraine is not able to, in the long run,
regain and maintain control of those coastal areas with
the Black Sea shipping routes, then unfortunately
Ukraine will likely be a state that will be in long
term life support without access to that, economically
As the war drags on, a diplomatic solution could be
the best bet for peace.
So I think what the United States needs to do is to
have a strategy to bring this war to an early end.
That means not only convincing the Russians that
they can’t win on the battlefield, but also
showing them that should they make concessions at the
negotiating table, that some of the pain that we
have inflicted on Russia could be eased