Over the past few days, Ukraine has been reporting increasing successes in the fight against the Russian army. The reason: the US-American rocket launchers of the type Himars (High Mobility Artillery Rocket System). The United States has so far delivered eight such weapons to Ukraine, and four more have been promised – with devastating consequences for the Russian army.
The Himars rocket launchers have a long range and are very mobile. This means that positions of the Russian army that were actually considered safe, far behind the actual front line, are now regularly under fire.
Reading tip: Military expert MIck Ryan explains the success of the Ukrainian attacks with Himar rocket launchers here.
One reason for the Ukrainian success with the new weapons is apparently an empty promise by a Russian arms manufacturer. The Almaz-Antey company, which produces the S300 and S400 surface-to-air missile systems deployed by Russia in Ukraine, promised when building and selling the weapons that they could also be used to defend against the Himars missile launchers. Now it turns out that that was at least a misjudgment.
Anton Gerashenko, adviser to the Ukrainian Interior Minister, wrote on Twitter: “Russian air defense systems are not able to intercept Himar missiles – which Almaz-Antey had promised and has properly received for. Russian soldiers, their ammunition, fuel and warehouses are vulnerable to the power of American weapons.”
On the Russian side, the failure of the Russian missile defense was at least partially acknowledged. Former Ukrainian MP Oleg Tsarev, who now lives in Russia, justified it by saying that Ukrainian troops would first fire volleys from older rocket launchers to unload Russian air defenses. Only then would the “more expensive and more accurate” Himars rockets be used.
The Himar system threatens the security of the “Luhansk People’s Republic,” admitted this week the head of the region recognized by Russia as a state, Leonid Passechnik. “Luckily they don’t have many such weapons. So there’s no need to panic at all.”
But Ukraine is hoping for more such weapons from the West. Ukrainian military analyst Oleh Zhdanov says Russia’s air defenses don’t stand a chance against the Himar missiles. The attackers use rockets of Soviet design, which repeatedly miss their targets due to the lack of modern navigation systems.
By the way: The empty promise now seems to have consequences for the management of Almaz-Antey. Military expert Phillips O’Brien shows a screenshot of a message from Gerashenko on Twitter.
It says: “Mikhail Fradkov, CEO and former Russian Prime Minister and CEO Yan Novikov could not only lose their positions. They also face charges of interfering with Russian defense capabilities.”
When the purchase contracts were signed, the company assured that the S400 missile systems could not only intercept airplanes and helicopters, but also Himar missiles.
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After four months of war, the Russian army appeared to be on the march to victory. But now the tide seems to be turning – at least in places. The reason is a new delivery of weapons. Mick Ryan explains that the Ukrainians can now resort to an old, successful tactic.