Did the M142 HIMARS Rocket Artillery Really Tip the Balance of Power in Ukraine’s Favor?

The M142 HIMARS has given Ukraine the firepower it didn't have before... But, it will hardly be enough to actually win the war.
Exercise Rolling Thunder HIMARS

Since the United States supplied Ukraine with the M142 HIMARS, Ukrainian troops have been able to bring their firepower to bear on Russian bases day and night.

However, it doesn’t seem to be enough to turn the tide of the war in Ukraine’s favor.

The devastating M142 HIMARS

Fires HIMARS
Fires HIMARS by Quince Bisard. Public Domain.

The HIMARS or High Mobility Artillery Rocket System is a modern artillery piece used by the United States Army – and now by the Ukrainian forces. 

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It is a weapon that fires various rockets and missiles, including the GPS-guided Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile (JASSM).

HIMARS
HIMARS by AaronJames Vinculado. Public Domain

With a range of 300 kilometers (190 miles), the  M142 HIMARS can strike targets deep behind enemy lines. In addition, HIMARS is highly mobile, making it ideal for use in fast-moving combat operations. 

M142 HIMARS
M142 HIMARS by Ali Azimi. Public Domain.

As a result, HIMARS has become an essential tool for fighting the Russian troops in the Donbas. 

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Is the M142 HIMARS really a game changer?

For Ukraine, having greater firepower and modern artillery has been a huge advantage in facing the most challenging moments of the war in the Donbas region.

The M142 HIMARS has given Ukraine great accuracy at long distances. And it has been a much-needed boost in their fight against the Russian army. 

In fact, it can be used to attack enemy troops, destroy enemy vehicles, and knock out strategic targets such as communications towers. That’s what the Ukrainians are doing right now.

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However, some experts are skeptical about the M142 HIMARS arguing that it is not a silver bullet and that its effectiveness will be limited by the country’s terrain and lack of trained personnel.

Additionally, Russia is employing new strategies with the massive use of drones, missiles, and an overwhelming amount of artillery that is pushing Ukrainian troops back.

Russia is also firing artillery like there’s no tomorrow

Artillery is one of the essential components of the Russian force, and Russia has long been recognized as a world leader in the field. 

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Russian artillery pieces are some of the most cost-effective and reliable in the world and have been used with great success since WWII. 

In recent years, Russia has invested heavily in new artillery technologies, and its forces are now more formidable than ever before.

So, the firepower that American artillery has given Ukraine has not had the full desired effect. While it helps a lot in keeping Russian troops at bay, it is far from surpassing the large number of artillery pieces that Russia has mobilized to the east of Ukraine.

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For this reason, the HIMARS is far from being a differentiating factor that will allow Ukraine to regain control of Donbas.

HIMARS has balanced things out but it is hardly a game changer for Ukraine

The Russian forces have been fighting in Ukraine for almost six months. During that time, they made many mistakes. But they have also learned from them.

That’s why the massive use of artillery is no longer working as it did the first-day HIMARS was implemented. Now, while it allows Ukraine to withstand Russian attacks, it will not win the war.

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Featured image credit: Exercise Rolling Thunder: HIMARS by Megan Ozaki. Public Domain.