Germany to deliver 3 American M142 HIMARS rocket systems to Ukraine in coming days - M5 Dergi
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Germany to deliver 3 American M142 HIMARS rocket systems to Ukraine in coming days

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According to the Twitter account German Aid to Ukraine on May 31, 2024, the German Minister of Defence, Boris Pistorius, announced that three M142 HIMARS Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS), funded by Germany from US inventories, will be delivered to Ukraine in the coming days. This announcement follows a visit to Washington on May 9, 2024, where Minister Pistorius disclosed that Germany would finance the acquisition of three High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) from the United States for Ukraine.

These systems, sourced from the current stocks of the US armed forces, represent a substantial financial commitment by Germany, totaling $30 million after an expedited Foreign Military Sale (FMS) approval. The announcement on May 9 was made during discussions with US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin and follows delays in the distribution of $61 billion in US aid to Ukraine, which was approved by Congress in April as part of a national security package. Germany’s procurement of HIMARS rocket launcher systems is intended to assist Ukraine while awaiting the arrival of the approved US assistance.

Following this, on May 10, 2024, the US State Department announced the approval of a potential emergency Foreign Military Sale to the Government of Ukraine of High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems and related logistics and program support elements for an estimated cost of $30 million. The Government of Ukraine has requested to purchase three HIMARS units, and this procurement will be financed by the Government of Germany on behalf of Ukraine.

As of May 10, 2024, the United States had already delivered 20 HIMARS to Ukraine and had pledged an additional 19. However, open sources reported that three of these systems had been compromised: one was confirmed destroyed, and two others were damaged, likely undergoing repairs. Germany’s financing of three additional systems from US stocks could indicate an intention to replace these specific losses, thereby sustaining Ukrainian artillery capabilities in its defense efforts against the Russian invasion.

Before the Foreign Military Sale (FMS) approval, estimates were made by the Army Recognition editorial team for both domestic and export acquisitions could be made. For domestic purposes, the price of one HIMARS launcher and carrier was $4.4 million in 2023. Consequently, if Germany were able to negotiate the purchase at the same price as the US Army, the total cost for three launchers would be approximately $13.2 million, though this scenario seems unlikely. Additionally, each M31 GMLRS rocket was priced at $168,000 in 2023.

In the more plausible export scenario, the costs could have been significantly higher. One HIMARS launcher and carrier was priced between $19 and $20 million in fiscal year 2022, making the cost for three systems range from $57 million to $60 million. Furthermore, each M31ER GMLRS rocket for export was listed at $434,000. These figures reflect the added expenses associated with exporting systems, which can include logistics, administrative costs, and potentially integrated support and training services, but also signify that Germany managed to save up to 50% of the predicted export value for these three M142 HIMARS.

The M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) is a mobile artillery launcher developed by the United States, operational since 1998. It is based on a standard Army M1140 truck frame, enhancing its mobility. The system can launch multiple types of munitions, including the Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (GMLRS) and the Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS), with a range of up to 300 kilometers depending on the munition type. HIMARS carries either a six-pack of rockets or one missile, with the capability for quick reloading to maintain operational tempo in combat scenarios.

The HIMARS is notable for its rapid deployment capabilities, as it can be quickly moved and set up to launch and then relocate before it can be targeted by enemy fire. It is compatible with C-130 and larger aircraft for air transport, facilitating rapid redeployment across diverse operational environments. The system’s precision targeting capabilities, facilitated by its fire control system and GPS guidance, aim to minimize collateral damage while engaging targets effectively.

The technology integrated into HIMARS includes an advanced fire control system and communications suite that integrates with various military platforms for coordinated operations. Its GPS guidance system enhances accuracy, thereby minimizing unintended damage and increasing strike effectiveness. Additionally, its capability to interface with advanced surveillance and reconnaissance systems allows for real-time targeting adjustments, further enhancing operational effectiveness.

For Ukraine, the introduction of HIMARS systems has played a significant role in the conflict with Russia. These systems have provided Ukrainian forces the ability to execute precise, long-range strikes on critical Russian positions and logistical networks, impacting the dynamics of military engagements. The precision and operational range of the American M142 HIMARS enables strategic targeting that conserves civilian areas and reduces risk to Ukrainian forces. The inclusion of these systems has also been a significant aspect of international military support for Ukraine.

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