Ever since the first deliveries to Ukraine of the US-made M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) were made in June 2022, Moscow’s troops have been hunting for them and claiming to have destroyed the launchers and their associated logistic vehicles.

Less than a month after the arrival of the first systems Reuters reported a Kremlin claim that between July 5 and20 “four launchers and one reloading vehicle for the US-made multiple launch rocket systems (HIMARS) were destroyed.” Both Kyiv and Washington rejected Moscow’s claims, calling them “fakes” designed to undermine support for Ukraine.

The Russians continued to regularly make claims that they had destroyed HIMARS or the tracked M270 which fires the same missiles ever since.

Kyiv maintained that a number of these unsubstantiated assertions were because Russian forces had fallen for sophisticated decoys manufactured by the Ukrainian company Metinvest, which uses scrap materials to build facsimiles of advanced weapon systems that fool Russian operators into expending artillery, drones and missiles to destroy them.

Advertisement

The footage posted on both Ukrainian and Russian social media on Tuesday is different. It not only shows a vehicle that is remarkably similar to the HIMARS which, after the first explosion of the strike is followed by secondary blasts as at least one of its 227mm M30/31 rockets cooked off and became propulsive.

Unless Metinvest’s latest decoys have become even more sophisticated than before and, although the incident has not been verified by the Ukrainian authorities, it seems more than likely that the video depicts the actual destruction of a HIMARS vehicle and its missiles.

Kremlin Using New Tactics to Destroy Ukrainian Energy Infrastructure, FT Reports
Other Topics of Interest

Kremlin Using New Tactics to Destroy Ukrainian Energy Infrastructure, FT Reports

Now Moscow's goal is to target power plants in less-protected locations and to “eradicate them, because it is impossible to restore power plants in a short time.”

The video shows the HIMARS launcher parked on the edge of a field from several different angles. The area has been geolocated near the village of Nykanorivka, in the Donetsk region around 40 kilometers (25 miles) from the front line. After several seconds the launcher is struck by a missile that has been variously identified as an Iskander-M ballistic missile or a 300mm Tornado-S rocket.

Advertisement

Concern has been expressed by Ukrainian commentators who are surprised about the location of the launcher and the time it must have been there to have been detected and attacked. It is normal that, unless carrying out a fire mission, the HIMARS are kept undercover in areas beyond the range of most of Russia’s frontline weapons and moving under cover of darkness.

The reason why HIMARS is considered a prime target for Russia has been amply demonstrated in the last month when in the space of just one week Russian troops congregating in the open in the Donetsk and Kherson regions were hit, killing and wounding dozens, if not hundreds of unprotected officers and soldiers.

Strategically the loss of a single HIMARS isn’t that significant, Ukraine has received 39 HIMARS and 25 M270s, but the effect on morale could be as the war is in a difficult phase.

Even more worrying is the impression that Ukraine has to be more selective in its use of the weapons system as the replenishment of the missiles, which are largely US-supplied, has dried up along with other critical munitions because of the impasse within the US Congress. Unless that changes Ukraine will run out of missiles long before it runs out of launchers.

Advertisement
To suggest a correction or clarification, write to us here
You can also highlight the text and press Ctrl + Enter

Comments (2)

https://www.kyivpost.com/assets/images/author.png
Juan
This comment contains spoilers. Click here if you want to read.

I wish that this is another russian lie

https://www.kyivpost.com/assets/images/author.png
Joseph Swanson
This comment contains spoilers. Click here if you want to read.

I doubt this very much. They may have hit a vehicle in the US military's inventory that looks similar ( M1083) in terms of the front / cab of the vehicle and now trying to say it was a HIMARS. The criminally insane communist russian "government" has also made claims of destroying all HIMARS before they even got to Ukraine. They have also made claims about destroying Abrams and Leopard tanks before they got to Ukraine too.

darrenp
This comment contains spoilers. Click here if you want to read.

@Joseph Swanson, Definitely suspect. They lie all the time so why should this be different. Further, there is a next to zero chance UKR forces would park this out in the open for any length of time.. It would be SOP to keep the unit moving unless gifting the orcs and then only moving a night.

JMiguel
This comment contains spoilers. Click here if you want to read.

@darrenp, yeah everything we don't like is lie. Let's go that route.

D Ingonthis
This comment contains spoilers. Click here if you want to read.

@JMiguel, yeah, because the Russians have such a good track record of telling the truth.... So if you think it was a HIMAS, prove it...... we are waiting.....

https://www.kyivpost.com/assets/images/author.png
https://www.kyivpost.com/assets/images/author.png
https://www.kyivpost.com/assets/images/author.png
https://www.kyivpost.com/assets/images/author.png