How HIMARS launchers are shifting momentum in Ukraine’s fight against Russia


It has been a regular, largely-unnoticed a part of the American army arsenal for many years. However when HIMARS (an acronym which stands for Excessive Mobility Artillery Rocket System) confirmed up in Ukraine, it modified the face of battle. “This capability has given the Ukrainians the potential to completely change the momentum and the direction of this war,” mentioned retired Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, former commander of the U.S. Military in Europe.

He mentioned HIMARS, which fires a 200-pound warhead as much as 50 miles and hits inside 10 toes of its meant goal, has nearly eradicated Russia’s numerical benefit.

“You don’t have to have hundreds of artillery rounds to achieve the same effect as one rocket fired from HIMARS,” mentioned Hodges.

CBS Information nationwide safety correspondent David Martin requested, “Is Ukraine still outgunned?”

“In numbers, I’d say yes. But what really matters is effect. And the effect that Ukraine is achieving, it seems to me at this point to be superior to what the Russians are able to deliver.”

A HIMARS (Excessive Mobility Artillery Rocket System) launcher. 

CBS Information

Since June, the U.S. has shipped Ukraine 16 HIMARS launchers and 1000’s of rockets, which protection officers say the Ukrainians have used to assault greater than 350 Russian command posts, ammo dumps, provide depots, and different high-value targets far again from the entrance traces.

Hodges mentioned, “The HIMARS and other long-range capabilities have given the Ukrainians the ability to reach out and hit targets that the Russians would have thought were safe.”

Martin requested, “Why can’t they just move all these command posts and ammo dumps further back from the front line and get them out of range?”

“You still gotta get that ammunition to the guns, which are closer to the front,” Hodges replied. “So, now you’ve increased the distance that the trucks have to move, carrying very heavy ammunition. And they’ve lost well over 1,000 trucks in this campaign so far. The result is significant reduction in the amount of Russian artillery and rocket fire impacting on Ukrainian forces.”

All that from a weapon made at a Lockheed Martin plant in rural Arkansas – a seemingly minor outpost in America’s huge military-industrial advanced, which is now racing to meet up with the sudden demand for HIMARS.

“Sunday Morning” accompanied the Pentagon’s chief weapons purchaser, Dr. William LaPlante, as he made plans to dramatically enhance manufacturing.

“We have to plan for at least to double this – the production here probably will be double,” LaPlante mentioned.

Martin requested, “How long can you keep that up?”

“As long as the demand is needed. We can keep production lines open for 30 years.”

The Lockheed Martin plant in Camden, Arkansas, produces HIMARS (Excessive Mobility Artillery Rocket System) and GMLRS (Guided A number of Launch Rocket Techniques).

Lockheed Martin

Lockheed Martin’s chief working officer Frank St. John mentioned the plant is at the moment turning out about 7,500 rockets a yr. Martin requested him, “You heard the man from the Pentagon; he said they’re probably going to double production. Can you double production?”

“Absolutely,” mentioned St. John. “We have capacity to produce 10,000 rockets a year. That’s a rocket every 10 minutes if you do the math on that. We’re also doing similar analysis to take that up to 12,000 or 14,000 rockets a year.”

“How fast can you do this?”

“I would say on the order of 18 to 24 months, to make any significant changes in the production quantities.”

The nostril cone carries a satellite tv for pc steerage system which provides the rocket its sniper-like accuracy. However what impresses LaPlante most about HIMARS will not be the sophistication of its expertise, however the simplicity of its use. “There are just three operators, probably 18- to-20-years-old, and the system works,” he mentioned. “And they can use it effectively within a week. That to me is as important as its accuracy. It’s reliable, and can be done by 18-year-old Ukrainians.”

To see how HIMARS operates within the subject, Martin went to the U.S. Military coaching vary in Yakima, Washington, the place they use the identical techniques taught to the Ukrainians.

At a “hide site,” the HIMARS crew tries to hide itself from enemy surveillance. As soon as it leaves right here for its firing place, the HIMARS is liable to be noticed and focused, so the clock begins ticking.

The HIMARS launcher has a high pace of 55 miles an hour, however off-road within the excessive desert it is extra like 35. As soon as it is out within the open, it has about five-to-seven minutes to seek out its firing place, practice its rockets on the goal, and hearth – one rocket each few seconds.

Martin requested the crew chief of 1 HIMARS, Workers Sergeant Cami White, “How’d you guys do?”

“We did well!” she replied.

“What does that mean, ‘well’?”

“Whenever we get a ‘fire when ready,’ it’s as fast as you can fire it. So with that, I think our time was around three minutes.”

“Three minutes from the time you got the mission, to the time the rockets took off?”

“Yes, sir.”

A HIMARS fires on the U.S. Military’s Yakima Coaching Middle in Washington. 

CBS Information

When the HIMARS fires, the rocket exhaust provides away its place, so it has to get out of there quick earlier than the enemy can strike again.

“How long do you have to get out?” Martin requested.

“Oh, as quickly as possible,” mentioned White. “Roughly a minute.”

It is known as “shoot and scoot,” and the Ukrainians are doing it now in their counteroffensive against Russian forces occupying Kherson, profiting from the 16 HIMARS offered by the U.S.

“Sixteen just doesn’t sound like a lot,” Martin mentioned.

“It’s nowhere near what I think Ukraine could use,” Hodges mentioned. “I mean, look at the effect they’ve achieved with 16. Imagine if they had three or four times that many.”

For more information:

Story produced by Mary Walsh. Editor: Remington Korper.

See additionally: 

Ukrainians united in their resolve to stop Putin’s war machine



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