Ukraine is set to receive the first delivery of precision multiple launch rocket systems (MLRS) from the US and UK, after the civilian and military leadership of the country made urgent requests for the hardware.
Why does Ukraine urgently require MLRS?
- The Russians have fielded artillery in great numbers in the war with Ukraine.
- The lack of precision of Russian artillery systems is offset by the huge numbers that it can deploy in the field.
- In order to counter the Russian artillery onslaught, the Ukrainians need precision artillery weapons which can be used to degrade Russian firepower capabilities.
- Ukraine’s present artillery systems do not allow for a high degree of mobility and firepower which western MLRS can provide.
What is M270 MLRS ?
- The UK has said it will send long-range M270 MLRS to Ukraine.
- This weapon system can fire 12 surface-to-surface rockets within a span of 60 seconds and hit targets as far away as 80 km.
- The M270 MLRS is a US-origin weapon system and has been used in conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan in recent years.
- It is a highly mobile automated system on a tracked platform which is operated by a three-member crew.
- The M270 can fire 12 Guided MLRS or Extended Range (ER) GMLRS rockets, four Precision Strike Missiles (PrSM) or two Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS).
What is HIMARS?
- The US, meanwhile, has committed to supply four M142 High Altitude Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) to Ukraine.
- The HIMARS is a weapon system on a wheeled platform. It gives a very high degree of mobility to the weapons.
- The M142 HIMARS also provides for firing precision guided rockets which can degrade concentration of enemy artillery, armour or personnel as far away as 40 km.
- These can also be used to hit fuel and supply points, and field headquarters with high degree of precision.
- The shoot-and-scoot capabilities of the system help in protecting it against retaliatory fire by the enemy.
- HIMARS has been used successfully in conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria.
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