The Russian Defense Ministry announced that it had destroyed two of the four M142 HIMARS high-mobile rocket launchers that had just been delivered by the United States and were fighting in eastern Ukraine, but Kiev denied it.
Ukraine has received four US-made HIMARS high-mobile rocket launchers as part of a $700 million military aid package that Washington has for Kiev.
The US has committed to deliver eight M142 HIMARS rocket systems nicknamed “steel rain” to Ukraine by the middle of this month.
As soon as it arrived in Ukraine, this rocket was sent to the East and opened fire fiercely on the Russian army.
With a range of 80km, the M142 HIMARS has a range that is superior to all current Russian rockets, which only have a maximum range of 70km, so it is easy to attack without worrying about being fired.
Because of the danger of the M142 HIMARS rocket artillery, Russia has continuously sought to destroy this weapon.
Therefore, as soon as the fire was finished, the combat crew of the Ukrainian army immediately maneuvered to avoid the Russian reconnaissance planes.
However, suddenly on July 6, the Russian Defense Ministry announced that the country’s armed forces had destroyed two M142 HIMARS systems on the eastern front of Ukraine.
Moscow added that Russian forces also destroyed two ammunition depots for M142 HIMARS near the village of Kramatorsk in Donetsk Oblast, eastern Ukraine. Donetsk is the main target of the Russian army after they took control of Lugansk over the weekend.
However, the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine denied Moscow’s information, asserting that it was still using HIMARS to “deal a blow” to Russian forces.
The M142 HIMARS high mobility rocket system is a long-range artillery model that uses a precision-guided warhead.
This is considered one of the few types of rocket launcher most dangerous today.
It is known that the M142 HIMARS is a compact variant of the M270 rocket artillery. They use a 6×6 wheeled chassis instead of a tracked system.
The M142 HIMARS series rocket launcher complex consists of two main components: a launcher vehicle and a ammunition truck.
The launch vehicle is fitted with a 6.6-liter Caterpillar 3115 ATAAC diesel engine with a capacity of 290 horsepower for a maximum speed of 85 km/h; 480 km range.
The vehicle has very good maneuverability when climbing a slope of 60%; overcoming obstacles 0.6 m high; crossing a trench 1 m wide; wading 0.9 m deep.
Each launch vehicle carries a container of 6 rocket launchers, and when needed, this container can carry an MGM-140 missile.
M142 has great damage, it only takes 20 seconds to launch 6 M26 rockets, creating a damage area of 78.5 hectares.
Each M26 rocket carries 644 M77 sub-warheads, from a distance of 30 km. The US Army likened this to an option to bomb without air support.
During the Desert Storm campaign (1990-1991), multiple rocket launchers showed their strength even when using only basic M26 ammunition. At that time, the US began to develop rockets with a range of up to 45 km, but still using the M77 warhead.
Not long after, this warhead was replaced by the newer M85 variant, which has the same destructive power but a 1% failure rate compared to 5% of the M77.
However, their weakness is that the projectiles do not have a guidance system, making them very low accuracy, easy to cause unintended damage on the battlefield.
The US then released a version of the M30 rocket equipped with a self-guided head and 404 M85 sub-bombs, reducing damage but significantly increasing accuracy with small targets.
The latest M31 rocket variant is considered an effective solution to destroy targets in hills and cities with maximum accuracy.
The M85 cluster warhead was replaced by a 100 kg high explosive mass, allowing to destroy a single target without causing unexpected damage to the surrounding area.
The shell is equipped with an inertial navigation system and satellite navigation, allowing it to hit within a radius of 10 m around a predetermined target.
The firing range is increased to about 80 km, in addition to the ability to counter fire of most conventional rocket artillery systems, ensuring the survivability of the launcher of the M142 system.
“M142 HIMARS rocket systems will be used by Ukraine to repel Russian advances on Ukrainian territory. They will not be used against Russia.” AFP quoted an unnamed US official as saying on May 31.
Officer Kuzya, who is operating the artillery complex, said: “It would be good if Ukraine had 50 M142 HIMARS multiple rocket launchers to be able to deploy four in each direction of the vast front, which spans almost the entire eastern border with Russia.”
“Sputnik”, the nickname of another commander who is operating the M142 HIMARS artillery gun, wants the US to deliver more of these multiple launch rockets as soon as possible, so that it can stop Russia’s advance in the East.
“It took them too long to get the M142 HIMARS here. Had they been there earlier, I think this conflict would have ended soon,” “Sputnik” said.