Even prior to Kyiv’s counter-offensive, the American-made Guided Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (GMLRS) have proven to be an important platform that has aided Ukraine’s ability to drive back Russian forces.
This week, the open-source intelligence Twitter handle @UAWeapons published a video depicting GMLRS strikes in action.
And we know one thing: footage like this will just keep coming in as the war rages on.
GMLRS – New Ukraine Footage Shows American-Made Missiles Hitting Russian Military
In the 22-second video, the radar appears to be targeted followed by fumes of grey smoke rising above it.
The camera then pans in closer to the target, which looks like a Russian Zoopark-1 counter-battery radar.
The GMLRS surface-to-surface system can be used to target, attack and neutralize enemy targets located more than 70km away using precision fired. Since Ukraine’s use of GMLRS was proven to be successful in the early months of the war, the Army awarded multiple contract options to its manufacturer Lockheed Martin in the Fall to replenish inventory.
As detailed by the Army, “The current GMLRS family of munitions consists of three fielded variants: Dual-Purpose Improved Conventional Munition (DPICM) and the Alternative Warhead (AW) variants to service area targets; and the Unitary variant with a single 200-pound-class high-explosive charge to service point targets with low collateral damage. GMLRS is employed with the M270A1 Multiple Launch Rocket System and M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System launchers.” Fired from the HIMARS and the M270 Multiple Launch Rocket system, the GMLRS round has a range of roughly 50 miles.
Introducing HIMARS: Specs and Capabilities
HIMARS has played a major role in Ukraine’s defensive efforts against Russia. Widely touted as the most advanced rocket artillery system across the globe, HIMARS is a combat-proven system. Basically a missile launcher, HIMARS is mounted on a five-ton vehicle which can launch six guided missiles in quick succession. Back in 1982, the need for a light multiple rocket launcher emerged as the Cold War was heating up. Initially, the M270 MLRS was created but due to its heavy weight became burdensome for rapid deployment. HIMARS was ultimately selected by the Army in 2003, after Lockheed Martin was tasked to construct four prototypes with a budget of $23 million.
The lightweight missile launcher can be easily carried by a soldier or transported vis-à-vis large airframes and sea vessels. Ukrainian troops were trained how to successfully operate HIMARS, which has undoubtedly led to the launcher’s success in the war.
Earlier this year, the U.S. pledged long-range missiles to Kyiv, after previously refusing to deliver these weapons over concerns that Ukrainian forces would target Russian territories. On July 8, U.S. officials revealed that a future aid package will include HIMARS as Kyiv prepares for a slow Russian advance to seize more territory in the eastern Donbas region.
The U.S. is also reportedly considering shipping over their longest-range missiles yet to Kyiv as the counter-offensive continues. According to The Wall Street Journal, the Biden administration may decide to deliver the Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS), which has a range of roughly 190 miles.
With a long-range like this, Kyiv could easily strike targets deep within Russia’ territory.
— ???????? Ukraine Weapons Tracker (@UAWeapons) July 9, 2023
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.