US President Joe Biden announced on the evening of Tuesday (May 31st) that the country will provide another $ 700 million package of military aid to Ukraine. He said the new package would include “more advanced missile systems” so that Ukrainian forces could more accurately target Russian positions.
A White House official announced hours later that the missiles referred to by the US President were in fact HIMARS missile systems belonging to the US arsenal. The Pentagon will provide Ukraine with these missile systems on the condition that they do not target Russian territory.
Military experts say the missile systems have the power to change the state of war in Ukraine. But what are the characteristics of Himara and why is its presence on the battlefield so crucial?
The Himaras M142 missile system is the product of the American military company Lockheed Martin, a modern and light rocket launcher that can launch six 227 mm guided missiles simultaneously. Himaras’s name is actually derived from the phrase “high-maneuverability artillery rocket launcher.”
These systems are designed so that a small team can mount and fire new missiles in a matter of minutes. This, of course, requires the training of Ukrainian soldiers by American forces.
Himars rides on a six-wheeled multi-purpose truck called the Amphitheater, which now serves 100,000 units in various US military units. While long-range artillery and drones have become a significant threat to fixed armored vehicles in the Ukraine war, trucks can leave the area quickly after firing Himars systems.
What kind of Himaras missiles are they?
Himaras rocket launchers mainly use three models of ammunition, which are made in the form of 227 mm. One of the M26s, with a total weight of 306 kg, has a range of 32 km. Another is the M26-A2, which is a longer-range version of the previous ammunition and weighs a total of 296 kg and can hit targets at a distance of 45 km.
However, the deadliest missiles used in these rocket launchers are the M30 missiles. The missiles, which entered service with the US military in 2006 and have been used in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan, have a range of 84 kilometers.
These missiles, which have a satellite guidance system, can hit the target with an error of less than 5 meters, and with their 90 kg explosive warhead, they can kill any living creature up to a distance of 50 meters.
The Himaras became world famous four years ago after carrying out a lightning attack on a Taliban rally in Afghanistan. On May 24, 2018, the United States Army fired a rocket-propelled grenade at a Taliban headquarters in Musa Qala, Helmand Province, Afghanistan, killing 50 of the group’s top leaders. The attack was so accurate that none of the Taliban members who had gathered for the meeting survived.
Himars can also fire an Amojam-140 surface-to-surface missile, which, with satellite guidance, can have a range of 300 km.
The role of Himaras in the current stage of the Ukrainian war
The weapon was delivered to Ukraine at a time when the country’s military is reportedly retreating in the face of Moscow fire in the Donbas region. “Himaras will re-establish the balance of power,” a senior US official told AFP.
At present, the Russian and Ukrainian armies have similar missile systems, but the American Himaras systems have a longer range and are more accurate.
The Himars are very light and weigh about 11 tons, and each of them can be transported by a C-130 aircraft. Therefore, transporting them to Ukraine is not a challenge. However, one has to wait and see how they perform on the battlefield.