HIMARS Is Coming
After days of speculation, the U.S. Department of Defense has officially announced that it will be sending the Ukrainian military High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS).
HIMARS Shipment is Small
On Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Defence authorized yet another package of military aid to Ukraine worth $700 million. The most conspicuous part of the package was the four M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, or HIMARS.
Four HIMARS might seem—and is—a rather small number to tip the scale of the war in the Donbas. But throughout its security aid packages to Ukraine, the Pentagon has set a pattern of first providing a small number of a particular weapon system, especially if it is something that the Ukrainians are unfamiliar with, to gauge how well the Ukrainians adapt to the weapon systems and incorporate them into their operations.
As with many of the previous security assistance shipments, the latest package comes in the form of a Presidential Drawdown, meaning that U.S. President Joe Biden has greenlighted the Pentagon to go to its arsenal, find the weapon systems, and send them to Ukraine. This is the eleventh equipment drawdown from the Pentagon’s inventories since last August.
“These are critical capabilities to help the Ukrainians repel the Russian offensive in the east. One such need is the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System I just mentioned, which responds to Ukraine’s top priority ask. This system will provide Ukraine with additional precision in targeting at range. The Ukrainians have given us assurances that they will use this system for defensive purposes only,” Dr. Colin Kahl, the Undersecretary of Defense for Policy, said during a press briefing on Wednesday.
Interestingly, the four High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems Ukraine is receiving were already prepositioned in Europe in anticipation of the need to commit them to Ukraine.
In the last two years, the U.S. has committed to providing Ukraine with more than $5.3 billion in security assistance alone, with approximately $4.6 billion of that assistance given since the first Russian forces stepped into Ukraine on February 24. Since 2014, when Ukraine was first attacked by Russia, the U.S. has provided Ukraine with more than $7.3 billion in security assistance.
The Ukraine Weapons Story so Far
Besides HIMARS, thus far, the Pentagon has provided or committed to providing the Ukrainian military with the following weapons systems:
- Over 1,400 Stinger anti-aircraft systems;
- Over 6,500 Javelin anti-armor systems;
- Over 20,000 other anti-armor systems;
- Over 700 Switchblade Tactical Unmanned Aerial Systems;
- 108 155mm Howitzers and over 220,000 155mm artillery rounds;
- 90 Tactical Vehicles to tow 155mm Howitzers;
- 15 Tactical Vehicles to recover equipment;
- High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems and ammunition;
- 20 Mi-17 helicopters;
- Hundreds of Armored High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles;
- 200 M113 Armored Personnel Carriers;
- Over 7,000 small arms;
- Over 50,000,000 rounds of small arms ammunition;
- 75,000 sets of body armor and helmets;
- 121 Phoenix Ghost Tactical Unmanned Aerial Systems;
- Laser-guided rocket systems;
- Puma Unmanned Aerial Systems;
- Unmanned Coastal Defense Vessels;
- 22 counter-artillery radars;
- Four counter-mortar radars;
- Four air surveillance radars;
- M18A1 Claymore anti-personnel munitions;
- C-4 explosives and demolition equipment for obstacle clearing;
- Tactical secure communications systems;
- Night vision devices, thermal imagery systems, optics, and laser rangefinders;
- Commercial satellite imagery services;
- Explosive ordnance disposal protective gear;
- Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear protective equipment;
- Medical supplies to include first aid kits;
- Electronic jamming equipment;
- Field equipment and spare parts.
1945’s New Defense and National Security Columnist, Stavros Atlamazoglou is a seasoned defense journalist specializing in special operations, a Hellenic Army veteran (national service with the 575th Marine Battalion and Army HQ), and a Johns Hopkins University graduate. His work has been featured in Business Insider, Sandboxx, and SOFREP.