Russian officer fears American rocket launchers equipped to Ukraine

Ukraine’s new American-made rocket launchers are the deadliest weapons in Ukraine’s arsenal.

That’s not the Pentagon speaking, or a U.S. protection contractor promoting its merchandise, however quite a Russian army professional writing in TASS, Russia’s state-controlled information company.

The professional particularly cited the M142 Excessive Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS), delivered to Ukraine by the U.S., and the U.S.-made M270 A number of Launch Rocket System (MLRS) delivered by Britain.

“Of all doable armaments equipped by the collective West, the M270 MLRS and M142 HIMARS are essentially the most harmful and succesful weapons obtainable to the Ukrainian armed forces that may affect fight operations,” mentioned Alexey Sakantsev, whom TASS recognized as a reserve officer in Russia’s missile and artillery forces.

Sakantsev echoed the Biden administration’s fears that Ukraine may use these rocket launchers, which may hearth guided and unguided munitions at ranges of as much as 50 miles, to hit targets inside Russia.

“If the Ukrainian armed forces get the longest-range rockets, they’ll be capable to shell some Russian aerodromes, army bases and a number of ammunition depots, command posts and troop amassment areas, and likewise air protection techniques and artillery even not at positions however on the locations of their upkeep, transportation and preparation,” he mentioned.

Their mobility and accuracy make for a lethal mixture

Ukrainian and US troops training together
A Soldier of sixth Squadron, eighth Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Brigade Fight Crew, third Infantry Division observe artillery rounds with one of many Ukrainian ahead observers throughout battalion situational coaching train right here, September 21, 2016. 6-8 CAV is right here in assist of the Joint Multinational Coaching Group-Ukraine. (U.S.Military picture by Spc. John Onuoha / Launched)

Sakantsev’s reward is music to the ears of Lockheed Martin, the producer of MLRS and HIMARS.

The Russian officer lauded the techniques’ mobility – MLRS is a tracked car, whereas HIMARS is a lighter-wheeled car – which permits the launchers to rapidly displace to a brand new location after firing and thus keep away from counterbattery hearth. He complimented their capacity to rapidly reload rockets and launch various kinds of rockets, together with fragmentation munitions, anti-armor, anti-personnel cluster warheads, and rocket-delivered mines. Specifically, he pointed to MGM-140 Military Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) missiles which have a variety of 190 miles.

As a result of many of those munitions are GPS-guided, they “characteristic low round error chance and, due to this fact, require no adjustment hearth: the goal will likely be hit abruptly and precisely and, in case of cluster munitions, massively,” Sakantsev mentioned.

Apparently, whereas Russia has invested closely in GPS jamming techniques, Sakantsev doesn’t imagine that the American rockets could be stopped by jamming GPS steerage indicators.

“This can be executed theoretically and technically however not virtually,” he mentioned. “It’s because the sign should be ‘suppressed’ alongside the rocket’s total flight path whereas part of this course extends over enemy territory and it’s nearly unrealistic to jam the rocket’s path over pleasant territory simply based mostly solely on power.”

Associated: The West is sending the superior M777 Discipline Artillery Howitzer to Ukraine

The rocket launchers are a significant menace to Russian forces

HIMARS rocket launcher given to Ukraine
U.S. Marines with 2nd Battalion, 14th Marine Regiment, 4th Marine Division hearth an M142 excessive mobility artillery rocket system rocket throughout assault assist ways two (AST-2). (U.S. Marine Corps picture by Lance Cpl. Clare J. Shaffer)

Sakantsev argues that Russia’s greatest protection towards MRLS and HIMARS is to destroy the launchers earlier than they will hearth.

“It’s vitally essential to destroy such techniques at their stationing locations earlier than they transfer into firing positions and the Russian Aerospace Forces are able to fulfilling this activity. In some circumstances, this activity could be fulfilled by Iskander-M techniques [ballistic missiles].”

Russian air protection techniques may also destroy the rockets in flight, Sakantsev mentioned. “All of the munitions of those techniques could be detected in flight and destroyed by the Russian superior air protection techniques just like the S-300, S-350, S-400, Buk, Tor-M2, Pantsir-S, and Tunguska.”

It’s not clear whether or not Russia might afford to expend costly surface-to-air missiles on rockets, particularly when Western sanctions have curtailed imports of electronics wanted for Russian high-tech weapons. Nor does Russia’s incapacity to defeat Ukrainian drones or Ukraine’s air pressure encourage confidence that Russian air protection techniques can cease Guided MLRS (GMLRS) rockets touring at Mach 2.5.

Subsequently, this raises the query of why is Russian state media extolling the capabilities of MLRS and HIMARS. One risk is that the Kremlin desires justification for taking excessive measures to defeat these weapons, resembling attacking provide routes by means of which they attain Ukraine. Alternatively, it may very well be looking for justification for retaliating towards the West – resembling by means of cyberwarfare, or proscribing oil and gasoline exports – for sending the rocket launchers to Ukraine within the first place.

Michael Peck is a contributing author for Sandboxx and Forbes. He could be discovered on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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