The first US missile launchers of the Himar type are in Ukraine and have already struck. With their range and precision, they hit Russia in the most vulnerable spot.

Without arms deliveries from the West, Ukraine cannot survive. This was already the case at the beginning of the war, when thousands of anti-tank weapons from advanced systems like the Javelin to the solid Panzerfaust stopped the Russian advance (Panzerfaust 3 – that’s how much the Bundeswehr weapon of the Ukrainian army uses). And today it’s all the more true. A full-fledged conventional ground war like the one in Ukraine continuously wears out the material used. Most of the troop carriers, howitzers, rocket launchers and main battle tanks with which the Ukrainian armed forces went to war at the end of February have now been destroyed or are defective. The stock can only be maintained or even improved by deliveries from the West.

Game changer in Ukraine

But in addition to the standard material, the West also delivers state-of-the-art weapons that can become game changers. State-of-the-art air defense systems have been announced, and modern artillery such as the Caesar system from France and the M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems – Himars – multiple rocket launchers from the USA are already in the country (US rocket launchers M142 HIMARS can disable Putin’s artillery). They are by far the most powerful weapon system from the West. Compared to the old-fashioned multiple rocket launchers of the Cold War, and in the case of Russia from the USSR, their rockets have a far longer range and a precision that makes it possible to engage point targets as well. If desired, the launchers can also destroy a large area in the target area, because they can send a whole bunch of rockets on their way from each launcher in one salvo.

In principle, the Himars launchers are suitable for many missions. In the case of Ukraine, the spectrum narrows because Kyiv receives very few launchers and cannot risk these precious weapons. Already one of the first attacks showed the ability of the weapon. Kyiv circulated a video showing the shooting down on a stretch of highway. This demonstrated the ability to get to a kill very quickly and relocate the weapon just as quickly. Above all, the goal was interesting. On the same day, a massive attack on the air base at Melitopol, some 80 kilometers from the front, was reported. Kyiv can use these weapons to attack Russian bases far behind. This should and can overcome the predominance of the heavy Russian artillery. And not by attacking individual weapons, but by stopping the supply of ammunition. The primary target is therefore depots, but attacks on railway lines would also be an option.

Attack on supplies

Ukraine is now attacking ammunition dumps and train stations every day. Andriy Zagorodnyuk, Ukraine’s former defense minister, told the Telegraph: “It’s excellent equipment. We can penetrate deep into the front lines. But the short answer is no, it’s absolutely not enough. We need dozens of them. We would have more, we would attack their equipment, their own artillery units and their own multiple rocket launchers – and then we would be able to stop the offensive and secondly bring the momentum back and start their withdrawal. That was the idea.”

How will Russia react?

Whether attacking the ammunition dumps will be enough remains to be seen. Even if the attacks were successful in the first week, it is only a matter of time before the opponent takes countermeasures. The easiest way would be to spread the camps over large areas. It is unclear whether the Russians will not only succeed in limiting the effects of the impacts, but also in taking active action against the Himars. In recent weeks, it has already become apparent that Ukraine’s drones have lost a lot of their effectiveness. If they encountered a completely surprised enemy in the first weeks of the war, the Russians have now provided their front with dense and effective air defenses, which at least makes it very difficult to use the large combat drones.

In the last few days, portable electronic jamming cannons have been brought into the front area against smaller drones. In the case of the Himars, Russian forces would have to locate the launch site very quickly and strike almost immediately because the launchers can move very quickly. The Rocket Launcher’s weak point is the hideouts they use for camouflage. When not in use, launchers and other weapons can be stored in any major hall. There they are safe from detection from the air and from space, but can be tracked along the way. Danger also looms from pro-Russian collaborators. Because the hall camouflage has the disadvantage that all residents will notice the coming and going of the conspicuous vehicles.