Pentagon policy chief Colin Kahl revealed the payload for HIMARS launchers
The US is sending Ukraine heavy guided missiles with a range of 70km for use with the HIMARS multiple rocket launchers, Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Colin Kahl revealed on Tuesday. The White House previously said that HIMARS launchers would be provided with “battlefield munitions,” widely understood to be unguided rockets with a shorter range.
The high-mobility artillery rocket system will come with GMLRS guided rockets, Kahl said on Tuesday, speaking at a conference hosted by the Center for New American Security (CNAS), a Democrat-linked think tank for which he used to work.
“Sometimes when you see images of MLRS firing off, it’s like salvos of multiple rockets going off at the same time. That’s really not how this system is meant to operate,” Kahl said.
“The GMLRS is a precision guided munition, and a big one – a 500 pound munition,” he added. “Think of GMLRS more like the effect of an airstrike rather than launching off whole salvos. So, in other words, you can do a lot with a little, or you don’t need a lot to have a significant effect.”
When the White House first announced it was sending HIMARS launchers to Ukraine on June 1, it said they would be armed with “battlefield munitions,” which was widely taken to mean barrage rockets with a range of between 32km and 60km, considering that HIMARS is also capable of launching ballistic projectiles with a range of up to 300km.
“The range does not depend on the system itself, but on the missiles that are used,” Russian President Vladimir Putin said in a TV interview earlier this month, adding that if the US sends long-range rockets Russia will “draw the appropriate conclusions and use our weapons, which we have enough of, in order to strike at those objects that we have not yet struck.”
Putin said in an interview Sunday his military will attack new targets if Ukraine is sent long-range missiles.
“If it now comes to rockets and they are supplied, we will draw conclusions from that and employ our weapons that we have in sufficient quantities to strike those facilities that we are not attacking so far,” he said in an interview with Rossiya-1.
Last weekend, Anatoly Antonov, Russia’s ambassador to the United States, said the delivery would be “intolerable.”
“There is a risk that such equipment will be placed near Russia’s borders and Ukrainians will be able to strike at Russian cities. Such a situation is unacceptable and intolerable for us,” he said.
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