Saturday, May 18, 2024

The powerful ATACMS missile Ukraine may soon get from the US has long range, accuracy, and a lot of firepower

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A US Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) fired a missile into the East Sea during a South Korea-US joint missile drill.

South Korean Defense Ministry via Getty Images

The US is leaning towards sending Ukraine the ATACMS long-range missile, per a new report.
The missiles have a range of 190 miles, are accurate, and can cause a lot of damage.
Ukraine has repeatedly asked the US to send ATACMS, but American officials have been reluctant.

The US is poised to supply Ukraine with ATACMS missiles, a report said Friday — potentially giving it a powerful new weapon against Russia.

The development was reported by ABC News, which cited two unnamed US officials. Ukrainian officials have long argued that the missiles would be a crucial part of its efforts to stop Russia’s invasion.

ATACMS — a shortening of Army Tactical Missile System — has been one of Ukraine’s most pressing requests, because its long range would open up Russian targets too distant to easily attack.

The ATACMS is a long-range guided missile with a range of around 300 kilometers, or 190 miles, per its manufacturer Lockheed Martin. The US has been using it since 1991.

Here is what the missiles look like in action, as seen in a joint exercise between US and Korean forces in 2022:

And here is a photo showing the scale of the blast, taken from a test in Australia:

An MGM-140 Army Tactical Missile System missile impact in Northern Territory, Australia.

US Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Ryan Hageali

ATACMS can be fired from HIMARS launchers, a US-made artillery system which is attached to a truck.

Ukraine already has HIMARS and has been using them for about a year — but with shorter-range rounds that can reach 50 miles. A HIMARS launcher can fire six of the shorter-range rockets in a single salvo, or one ATACMS.

The mobility from being attached to a truck means ATACMS could be fired with “shoot and scoot” tactics, where a round is launched and then the weapon moves on before the enemy can fire back.

ATACMS have a warhead known as the WDU18, which produces a blast equivalent to 500 lbs of TNT.

It is both deadly and precise. The “ATACMS’ pinpoint accuracy helps minimize collateral damage,” Jim Gribschaw, a director at Lockheed Martin said of the missile.

ATACMS strikes were used extensively by the US in the Gulf War and its later invasion of Iraq.

Retired US general Ben Hodges previously told Insider that the ATACMS would allow Ukraine to reach vulnerable targets behind the front lines, like command posts housing senior officers, or ammunition dumps.

Ukraine has assured backers like the US that it would not use donated weapons for attacks on Russian soil, and it has been using its own drones and missiles for that instead.

A HIMARS launcher.

US Army photo

The US had initially been reluctant to provide the missile system.

National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said in 2022 that providing ATACMS could prompt Russia to escalate the conflict.

“There are certain capabilities the president has said he is not prepared to provide,” he said, adding that Biden feared “heading down the road towards a third world war,” he added.

As the war continued the US has steadily provided Ukraine with strong equipment, and has already dropped its objections to sending HIMARS, advanced Abrams tanks, cluster munitions, and F-16 fighter jets.

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A US Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) fired a missile into the East Sea during a South Korea-US joint missile drill.

South Korean Defense Ministry via Getty Images

The US is leaning towards sending Ukraine the ATACMS long-range missile, per a new report.
The missiles have a range of 190 miles, are accurate, and can cause a lot of damage.
Ukraine has repeatedly asked the US to send ATACMS, but American officials have been reluctant.

The US is poised to supply Ukraine with ATACMS missiles, a report said Friday — potentially giving it a powerful new weapon against Russia.

The development was reported by ABC News, which cited two unnamed US officials. Ukrainian officials have long argued that the missiles would be a crucial part of its efforts to stop Russia’s invasion.

ATACMS — a shortening of Army Tactical Missile System — has been one of Ukraine’s most pressing requests, because its long range would open up Russian targets too distant to easily attack.

The ATACMS is a long-range guided missile with a range of around 300 kilometers, or 190 miles, per its manufacturer Lockheed Martin. The US has been using it since 1991.

Here is what the missiles look like in action, as seen in a joint exercise between US and Korean forces in 2022:

And here is a photo showing the scale of the blast, taken from a test in Australia:

An MGM-140 Army Tactical Missile System missile impact in Northern Territory, Australia.

US Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Ryan Hageali

ATACMS can be fired from HIMARS launchers, a US-made artillery system which is attached to a truck.

Ukraine already has HIMARS and has been using them for about a year — but with shorter-range rounds that can reach 50 miles. A HIMARS launcher can fire six of the shorter-range rockets in a single salvo, or one ATACMS.

The mobility from being attached to a truck means ATACMS could be fired with “shoot and scoot” tactics, where a round is launched and then the weapon moves on before the enemy can fire back.

ATACMS have a warhead known as the WDU18, which produces a blast equivalent to 500 lbs of TNT.

It is both deadly and precise. The “ATACMS’ pinpoint accuracy helps minimize collateral damage,” Jim Gribschaw, a director at Lockheed Martin said of the missile.

ATACMS strikes were used extensively by the US in the Gulf War and its later invasion of Iraq.

Retired US general Ben Hodges previously told Insider that the ATACMS would allow Ukraine to reach vulnerable targets behind the front lines, like command posts housing senior officers, or ammunition dumps.

Ukraine has assured backers like the US that it would not use donated weapons for attacks on Russian soil, and it has been using its own drones and missiles for that instead.

A HIMARS launcher.

US Army photo

The US had initially been reluctant to provide the missile system.

National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said in 2022 that providing ATACMS could prompt Russia to escalate the conflict.

“There are certain capabilities the president has said he is not prepared to provide,” he said, adding that Biden feared “heading down the road towards a third world war,” he added.

As the war continued the US has steadily provided Ukraine with strong equipment, and has already dropped its objections to sending HIMARS, advanced Abrams tanks, cluster munitions, and F-16 fighter jets.

Read the original article on Business Insider
Avatar

Read more

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