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Russian Modern Jamming made US HIMARS ‘Ineffective’ in Ukraine – Report

The US made High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) is completely ineffective in the Ukraine-Russia war. Advanced Russian jamming techniques jammed these artillery weapon systems easily and effectively.

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According to the classified report on weapons assessment by Ukraine revealed by the ‘Washington Post’, America’s sophisticated weapons can be easily jammed or disrupted which shows their flaws in modern warfare.

Report further added that some Western and American weapon systems lost their accuracy or fell short of the targets due to the intense jamming environment created by the Russian forces on the battlefield.

The success rate for the U.S.-designed Excalibur shells, for example, fell sharply over a period of months — to less than 10 percent hitting their targets.” Described in the report. This led the Ukrainian forces to abandon these weapon systems.

M142 HIMARS launching a missile-rocket
M142 HIMARS launching a missile/rocket to its designated target

HIMARS in Ukraine sometimes lost accuracy or fell short of the target for more than 50 feet. ‘Defense Post’ reported.

According to the classified report, “The Excalibur technology in existing versions has lost its potential” and forced the Kyiv forces to address the US manufacturers of these high accuracy weapon systems to upgrade these weapon technologies so it can overcome this jamming issue. Also this will help to gain “one shot, one target” reputation for these weapons.

Military reported the problem with the Ukraine weapons package provided by Washington a few months back and prepared the report on it to communicate through proper channels to the manufacturers. But bureaucratic hurdles slow down the overall process.

Russia’s extensive use of electronic warfare made more US weapons lose accuracy in the coming months. Russia used modern jamming methods to disrupt American GPS guided weapons. 

On the other hand, the officials from Washington claim that there is no bureaucratic delay and the solution to the jamming problem was provided immediately. 

The Ukrainian Defense Ministry said, “We work closely with the Pentagon on such matters. In the event of technical problems, we promptly inform our partners to take the necessary measures to solve them in a timely manner.” 

With no doubt, the Western and US provided high accuracy weapons that performed well in the start but started to lag behind and unable to keep up with the changing battlespace environment. 

HIMARS Rocket
HIMARS Artillery launching a rocket

One of the Ukrainian senior military official said, “I’m not saying no one was worried about it before, but now they’re starting to worry.

It is also quoted from the military official that as they share information about the performance of the weapon systems with the US, Russia may also share this kind of info with China or China could monitor for itself.

“No Difficult Targets” Russia Says:

The US-made HIMARS is no longer a difficult target, the Russian Ministry of Defense claimed in a statement

According to the Russian MOD, “The Buk-M1 surface-to-air missile system is capable of tracking several targets at once and hitting them at a distance of up to 100 kilometers with sniper accuracy.” Statement further added, “Its main trump card is its firing accuracy, which leaves no chance to enemy air targets, including Western-made missiles.

HIMARS Missiles close image
HIMARS Missile Launchers close capture details

The Buk-M1 surface-to-air missile defense system with striking distance of upto 62 miles is a modern weapon package that engages multiple targets with high accuracy. It is also performing well in the front lines of the Russia-Ukraine war. 

HIMARS [High Mobility Artillery Rocket System]:

High Mobility Artillery Rocket System or M142 HIMARS, a private venture by Loral Vought Systems later developed by Lockheed Martin and BAE Systems, is a light weight, high-precision, long-range, mobile based fire launcher system. It belongs to the family of Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS).

A High Mobility Artillery Rocket System from the 3-157th Field Artillery Battalion gets into firing position on Ali Al Salim Air Base, Kuwait on June 22, 2022.

This system is mounted on a 5-ton truck, belonging to the Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles [FMTV]. It is capable of launching the entire munition belonging to the MLRS family. This high mobility, high precision system requires only the crew of 3 to manage and launch rockets to the desired target. It is a C130 compatible artillery system that can be transportable to any operational area previously inaccessible in the warzone.

The system has a high mobile rate or shoot-and-scoot capability. It also possesses autonomous features including auto-reloading. These autonomous features make it the premium artillery system in the world. These features enhance the survivability of the weapon system in advanced combats of the 21st century.

Specifications:

Firing Power of HIMARS:

The system has a capacity to carry and launch 6 rockets towards its designated target. With a maximum range of 45 miles and a speed of 53 mph, this system is known for its precision strike capabilities. 

Operational History:

This system was successfully tested in the Middle East during Operation Iraqi Freedom. And now during the Russia-Ukraine war, this system performs well in the beginning. Washington has donated 39 M142 such systems to Ukraine to fight against Russia.

Ukraine still uses this system even after the dense jamming by the Russians which causes HIMARS to miss its target for more than 50 feet.

Customers:

After the successful testing of the system in combat, the demand for this MLRS increases globally. Countries like Jordan, Singapore, and UAE order multiple launchers of this system for their militaries. Poland is also interested in buying this artillery system and ordered 18 launchers along with 468 launcher module kits and 45 M57 Army Tactical Missile Systems (ATACMS).

Lockheed Martin has produced more than 400 M142 launchers to date for almost all the branches of the USA military including Marine Corps, and the Army and for global allies.

The US military first incorporated this artillery in 2005 with the 3rd Battalion, 27th Field Artillery Regiment. The Army also plans to field 6 battalions with this MLRS. Marines also ordered more than 38 additional launchers of this system.

Analysis:

With no doubt, the M142 HIMARS system is one of the best Multiple Launch Rocket System [MLRS] in the world right now. With its unique autonomous features, auto-reloading along with high mobility rate, high precision to engage targets make it the most formidable artillery system that any army can possess. 

But due to the changing combat environment, and advancement in jamming technologies, precision weapons are more difficult to operate on the front lines. 

America and the West are providing weapons to Ukraine and fueling the conflict which is ultimately damaging Ukrainian society in general.

Russia uses advanced jamming techniques and disrupts the American precision weapons by altering their GPS guidance systems used by Ukraine in the combat.

With the continuous upgrade and to keep up with the modern warfare requirements, these rocket systems should also evolve to remain relevant and to serve the militaries around the world.

America-Russia tussle led the Ukraine as the testing ground for the new unconventional weapons. The hidden USA war with Russia from the soviet era also damages the economies of many nations around the globe.

Sources:

  1. The Washington Post
  2. Military.com
  3. The Defense Post