In a tweet Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense said, Russia’s S-400 air defense system was unable to intercept a missile fired by HIMARS. A similar statement was made by Anton Gerashchenko, advisor to Ukraine’s Minister of Internal Affairs.
“Russian Armed Forces, their ammunition and fuel warehouses are completely unprotected from the power of American weapons,” said Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense as well as Gerashchenko in comments.
Currently, Russia’s Ministry of Defense has not refuted these claims.
So far, the United States has supplied Ukraine four 227mm M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS).
Currently, there are no Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) deployed by Ukraine, and the likelihood of them being deployed in the near future is low. On July 8, 2022, in a press conference the Pentagon issued a statement saying “They [Ukrainians] have asked for capabilities to help them prosecute the current battle in the Donbas, and that is what we are providing with the HIMARS and the GMLRS”.
Washington has made it clear that providing ATACMS to Ukraine is a “red line” that they will not cross, since with such a missile system, the Ukrainians will have the ability to attack the Russian territory, something that Washington does not want, since it will deepen the conflict and enflame it beyond the borders of Ukraine.
“This would be a completely new capability. This would open up all sorts of possibilities, including the removal of the Crimean bridge. Perhaps this is an escalation that the US is afraid of,” opined experts while adding “ATACMS is a maneuvering missile, meaning it´s hard to shoot down. Russia has already shown its inability to shoot down GMLRS 31 missiles that HIMARS uses. It is also very accurate. Might take several hits though.”
ATACMS is a tactical ballistic missile that was placed into service in the early 1990s. Currently only four countries are armed with it including the United States, Turkey, South Korea, and Greece.
While the declared range of ATACMS is stated to be 300km, in tests its range has been shown to be around 310 to 320 km. The missile had been deployed in several conflicts including in the Gulf War, US invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq.
Its main characteristics are as follows: its wingspan is 55 inches (1.4 m), with the flight ceiling being 160,000 ft (50 km); it has maximum speed of Mach 3 (0.6 mi/s; 1.0 km/s), and its missile’s guidance system is configured by GPS-aided inertial navigation guidance.