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‘Annihilated’: Footage Shows Ukraine Using NATO Weapons to Hit Putin’s Big Guns

TOS-1 rocket launcher. Image Credit: Creative Commons.

The war in Ukraine has proven that the Russian military may be a paper tiger after all. 

Putin has lost countless big artillery pieces and tanks over the last year and will keep losing more, thanks to Kyiv’s courage and western weapons.

And social media will showcase it all. 

Putin’s Big Guns in Ukraine Just Got Annihilated

The open-source intelligence feed Ukraine Weapons Tracker released footage depicting the destruction of three Russian howitzers this week.

In the video, three 2S19 Msta-S 152mm self-propelled howitzers appear to be taken out near Novopetrykivka, Donestsk Oblast region.

Following three explosions, fumes of grey smoke appear over each targeted howitzer.

According to the Twitter handle, Kyiv used Western-provided Guided Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (GMLRS) munitions in the barrage. Since the onset of the invasion, the U.S. and its North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) allies have delivered billions of dollars’ worth of aid to support Ukraine’s defensive efforts.

While the exact GMLRS used in the attack are not obvious from the released footage, the trajectory and force of the attacks appear to come from these rockets.

What is the GMLRS?

The GMLRS is a surface-to-surface system designed to attack, destroy or neutralize targets using indirect precision fires. Equipped with greater accuracy than ballistic rockets, the GMLRS also has a higher kill probability.

GMLRS has a range of up to 43 miles, is accurate within roughly 2-5 meters of a target and possesses a 200-pound high-explosive warhead. The inclusion of the 142 HIMARS (High Mobility Artillery Rocket System) in Ukraine’s arsenal has been a game changer for the country. The HIMARS system consists of the high Mobility Artillery Rocket, an armored truck and the GMLRS.

According to Lockheed Martin, current iterations of the Guided MLRS include Guided MLRS Unitary, Guided MLRS Alternative Warhead (AW) and Extended-Range (ER) Guided MLRS. The latter is the newest variant in the Guided MLRS family, offering “an extended range out to 150 kilometers in all weather conditions. ER GMLRS shares significant commonality with legacy Guided MLRS, and is deployable by HIMARS and the MLRS M270 family of launchers. The rounds incorporate a larger motor and have enhanced maneuverability due to tail-driven control.”

Over the last year or so, the American-made system has helped Ukraine destroy dozens of Russian targets and liberate strategically significant Ukrainian cities and territories. Last June, HIMARS/GMLARS were first delivered to Kyiv and have unquestionably helped stymie Russia’s advancement. With these longer-range systems, Kyiv has been able to strike Russian ammunition depots, headquarters among other critical targets over the last year.

The origin story of HIMARS

The combat-proven HIMARS was developed for the U.S. Army in the 1990’s. During the height of the Cold War, the military’s need for a light multiple rocket launcher emerged. The M270 MLRS derived from this need, however, due to weight issues the Army turned to manufacturing giant Lockheed Martin to develop improved prototypes.

By the early 2000’s, HIMARS was selected. The system is capable of launching all rockets within the Multiple Launch Rocket System Family of Munitions and is mounted on a Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles XM1140A1 truck frame. 

As Kyiv’s counter-offensive escalates, additional GMLRS barrages will become more frequent. While open-source intelligence sources like Ukraine Weapons Tracker provide critical footage, reliable figures regarding the ongoing invasion are difficult to come by as both Kyiv and Moscow skew numbers to support their respective interests in the conflict.

Maya Carlin, a Senior Editor for 19FortyFive, is an analyst with the Center for Security Policy and a former Anna Sobol Levy Fellow at IDC Herzliya in Israel. She has by-lines in many publications, including The National Interest, Jerusalem Post, and Times of Israel. You can follow her on Twitter: @MayaCarlin.

From 19FortyFive

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Written By

Maya Carlin, a Senior Editor for 19FortyFive, is an analyst with the Center for Security Policy and a former Anna Sobol Levy Fellow at IDC Herzliya in Israel. She has by-lines in many publications, including The National Interest, Jerusalem Post, and Times of Israel.