Ukraine: Expert details new weapons provided by US
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The M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) can reportedly launch a rocket capable of travelling up to 80km. The weapons are mounted on a truck and can carry a container with six rockets. A senior US official has confirmed that these weapons will be shipped over to Ukraine as part of a new $700million (£566million) package.
The official said: “The range of the munitions with the HIMARS allows them to range out to about 80km.
“It gives them a bit of precision munitions toward unique targets.
“The Ukrainians have given us assurances they will not use these munitions against targets in Russian territory.
“Given those assurances, we are very comfortable that they will not.”
Defence expert Dr Patrick Bury has said that these weapons could be a “significant game-changer” for Ukraine.
He told BBC News: “Its range depends on what rockets are fitted into it and it has been used to great effect against the Taliban in Afghanistan, against ISIL in Syria, when it uses about a 200-mile range missile fitted with a precision-guided munition suite so it can actually basically drop the missile essentially through a door using GPS.
“And that is a significant game-changer because what the Ukrainians have been suffering is heavy losses, mainly in infantry from mass Russian artillery barrages and rocket attacks.
“What the HIMARS system will allow them to do is to stand off further back.
“We have seen that the Howitzers that the Americans have previously supplied the Ukrainians have a range of about 15-20 miles depending.
“But this has now pushed that out to about 200 miles so they can target the Russian logistics loads in the Donbass, they can target commander control in the Donbass, and they can target the batteries that are actually engaging them, so it is quite significant.”
But the Army Tactical Missile System, which has a range of about 190 miles and can be fired by the HIMARS, will not be sent by the US.
Kyiv has also requested the Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS), which can fire rockets hundreds of kilometres.
But the US official said: “At this time we decided not to provide the longer-range munitions and have communicated that to the Ukrainians.”
The $700million (£566million) package of weapons being sent by the US will also include counter-fire radar and air surveillance radar.
The US will also ship over more Javelin ant-tank weapons, artillery rounds, and helicopters.
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And tactical vehicles as well as spare parts particularly for artillery, will also be sent to Ukraine.
While already receiving thousands of weapons from NATO countries, including the US, such as Javelin and Stinger missiles, Ukraine has requested more weapons to bat away Russian ships from its ports.
According to three US officials and two congressional sources, the US is considering sending two types of powerful anti-ship missiles to Ukraine.
These are called the Harpoon and Naval Strike Missiles.
It comes as Russian ships have been blockading the port city of Odessa in Ukraine.
This has sparked fears of a global food crisis as the “breadbasket of Europe” is being prevented from exporting agricultural products to its customers.
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