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Putin’s Nightmare Is Coming True: MLRS Rockets Are Headed to Ukraine?

M270 MLRS. Image Credit: Lockheed Martin.
M270 MLRS. Image Credit: Lockheed Martin.

Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) Headed to Ukraine – For weeks, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has been pleading with the United States and its allies to provide it with the Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS), an American-developed system that can fire a barrage of rockets hundreds of kilometers, which would be further than any system currently employed by the Ukrainian military.

Zelensky, and other Ukrainian officials, have suggested it would be a game-changer in its war against Russia, which launched its unprovoked and unwarranted invasion in late February.

The challenge is, of course, with such a system, Russia may see such an upgrade in Ukraine’s military capabilities and escalate tensions and military action even further.

MLRS: Ukraine has Older USSR Versions

Ukraine already has in its arsenal a number of Soviet-era MRLS, but the replacement ammunition is only produced en masse in Russia, Newsweek reported. Kyiv has stated that it needs Western-made platforms to fill the gap, and among those would be the M270 MLRS, which was first introduced in 1983, and since has been adopted by several NATO countries.

While production of the platform ended in 2003, some 1,300 had been produced, along with more than 700,000 rockets. The weapon has earned a number of colorful monikers including the “commander’s personal shotgun” and “battlefield buckshot,” while the tracked system has been referred to as the “Gypsy Wagon,” as it crews store various equipment, including nettings, cots, and coolers on the top of the platform.

The M270 first saw use during Operation Desert Storm in 1991, when units of the U.S. Army’s 6th Battalion, 27th Field Artillery, “Proud Rockets,” fired on Iraqi positions in Kuwait.

Support to Send the MLRS Growing

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been among those who have stated publicly that Ukraine should be supplied with the MLRS but stopped short of committing the UK to actually sending any M270s.

Likewise, the United States had previously rejected Ukraine’s request for the long-range rocket platform, but on Friday CNN reported that the Biden administration is now preparing to step up the kind of weaponry that it could send. The administration is apparently leaning toward sending the systems as part of what will be a larger package of military and security assistance and could be announced as soon as next week.

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have supported supplying Kyiv with the MLRS.

“We’ve got to be sure that we are giving them what they actually need,” said Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) this week. “To me this would include an example of what is called the multiple launch rocket systems, or MLRS, that they are asking for.”

It may now be a matter of when, rather than if, Ukraine gets the weapons – and they could be crucial in helping drive out the Russian invader.

Now a Senior Editor for 1945, Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer who has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers and websites. He regularly writes about military hardware, and is the author of several books on military headgear including A Gallery of Military Headdress, which is available on Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes.

Written By

Expert Biography: A Senior Editor for 1945, Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer who has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers, and websites with over 3,000 published pieces over a twenty-year career in journalism. He regularly writes about military hardware, firearms history, cybersecurity, and international affairs. Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes. You can follow him on Twitter: @PeterSuciu.