The United States made design changes to the M142 HIMARS multiple launch rocket systems sent to Ukraine so that Kiev would not use them to destroy targets in Russia. The Wall Street Journal writes about it.
According to US officials quoted by the publication, The United States has secretly upgraded the M142 combat vehicles so that they “cannot be used to launch long-range missiles at Russia.”
“The administration of US President Joe Biden believes that this measure is necessary to reduce the risk of a wider war with Moscow,” the authors of the article wrote.
It has been reported that the changes affect the hardware and software of war vehicles. The US, which refused to supply Ukraine with ATACMS (Army Tactical Missile System) type ballistic missiles, thus ruled out the possibility of using M142 HIMARS combat vehicles to launch these missiles if Ukraine purchased them from other countries.
The Pentagon declined to comment on the matter. “For operational security reasons, we do not publicly comment on the configuration of systems provided to our allies and partners.” Defense Department spokesman Brigadier General Patrick Ryder said:
However, there are still great doubts about the reliability of such opinions expressed in the authoritative edition of The Wall Street Journal. Nowadays, of course, nothing can be ignored, but the thing is that Ukraine was provided with guided missiles for the M142 GMLRS (Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System) with a firing range of 15 to 15 in versions M30 and M31 of 227 mm caliber. 84 km. With such a range, the Ukrainian M142s could not pose a serious threat to military installations in Russia or even within the borders of the Ukrainian SSR in 1991. MGM-140A ATACMS missiles with a range of 165 to 300 km were not supplied to Ukraine.
Now about the possibilities for Ukraine to purchase ATACMS missiles from other countries. And here, first of all, the Baltic countries, Poland and Romania come to mind, which have bought or are planning to buy the M142 HIMARS in the near future. But so far there is no evidence of the supply of ATACMS missiles to these states (except for Romania, which has 54 products of this type).
Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, the Republic of Korea and Greece also have ATACMS missiles. However, it seems unlikely that any of these countries would risk handing over such weapons to Ukraine. First, according to the relevant contractual obligations to the United States, the transfer of American weapons to any third country is strictly prohibited. In this case, the seller will experience more distress than benefit. Secondly, Kyiv currently does not have the money to buy expensive weapons (even if someone decided to sell the ATACMS Armed Forces, there would obviously be nothing to pay the bills to Ukraine).
The Wall Street Journal states that since June of this year, the United States has delivered 20 M142 HIMARS combat vehicles to Ukraine. Earlier, it was reported that the Pentagon refused to supply more M142 HIMARS to Ukraine due to limited industrial capacity. It also doesn’t look very convincing. The fact is that the American industry produced 540 M142 combat vehicles. Thus, less than 4% of the produced HIMARS (of the presence of the US armed forces) was sent to Ukraine. And this could not affect any possibility of production in America.
M142 combat vehicles have proven to be a very effective weapon during conflicts and operations in Ukraine. And if the Pentagon delivers to Ukraine not 20, but at least 50, even without ATACMS missiles, this will have a very significant impact on the course of the armed struggle.
According to the WSJ, the design changes to the M142 reflect “management officials’ fears that their Ukrainian partners will not be able to fulfill their promise not to strike Russian territory with US-supplied weapons” and the desire of President Joe Biden’s administration. To “reduce the risk of a wider war” with Russia.
However, the concerns of the American administration about the possible combat use of the M142 HIMARS against targets in Russia, against the background of today’s attacks by the Ukrainian armed forces on the long-range aviation airfields in Engels and Dyagilevo (Ryazan region), are already somewhat exaggerated. By the way, Kyiv did not stop at the above two airfields, and today the third airbase of the Aerospace Forces of the RF Armed Forces, located in the city of Kursk, was hit.
Barbara Dickson is a seasoned writer for “Social Bites”. She keeps readers informed on the latest news and trends, providing in-depth coverage and analysis on a variety of topics.