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Russia Should Worry: Ukraine Rigs Improvised Rocket Launchers On Trucks

BM-21 Grad Rockets in Ukraine. Image Credit: Creative Commons.
BM-21 Grad Rockets. Image Credit: Creative Commons.

Video footage shared online (watch here) this week shows how Ukrainian soldiers continue to create improvised rocket launchers using regular commercially-available passenger trucks.

In a video, a Ford Raptor pickup truck can be seen fitted with a missile launcher on the back.

Soldiers can be seen loading the rocket launcher with 12 rockets before launching the missiles from the back of the truck.

As the rockets launch, the pickup truck barely moves, proving that even improvised systems like this can be truly effective on the battlefield.

Ukraine Weapons Tracker, a popular war-tracking Twitter account, shared the video this week and referenced an older video from August showing a similar improvised system.

“Another, improved ‘BM-8’ light MRLS made by Ukrainian forces,” the post reads.

“A 12 tube launcher is mounted on a Ford F150 Raptor truck, using 80mm S-8KO rockets-which are typically fired from aircraft,” the post explains.

The previous video from August shows an almost identical mobile launcher system.

However, the older improvised system could hold fewer rockets and appeared to be less stable than the more recent setup.

The Ukraine Weapons Tracker account noted that the older improvised system had “rather modest characteristics,” and was capable of holding nine rockets at once.

The improvised launchers, while effective in a pinch, do not have indirect fire capabilities – giving them limited usefulness for medium-range strikes.

U.S.-Supplied HIMARS Launchers Reportedly Modified

One of Ukraine’s preferred artillery systems on the battlefield is the Western-supplied High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS). The improvised rocket system functions in roughly the same way, with rockets being fired from the back of specially designed military vehicles, although they are capable of firing rockets at a longer range.

Reports this week revealed, however, that HIMARS sent by the United States were purposely modified to ensure that Ukraine could not easily launch missile strikes on Russian territory.

The Wall Street Journal revealed how the United States secretly modified the weapons systems to ensure that they were incapable of firing long-range ammunition, including rockets designed for the U.S. Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS). According to the report, the United States government was concerned that if it did not provide long-range rockets for the HIMARS systems, Ukraine may obtain them from elsewhere.

The decision reflects a broad concern among Western countries that providing long-range weapons, and facilitating attacks by Ukraine on Russian soil, could be considered an escalation in the conflict by the Kremlin.

Written By

Jack Buckby is 19FortyFive's Breaking News Editor. He is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.