Russia is extremely concerned about the possibility that the US may provide the ATACMS Block IA missile for use on Ukraine’s M270 and M142 guided rocket artillery systems.
Although it is still under discussion, it is very likely that the decision to transfer US ATACMS Block IA tactical missiles to Ukraine in order to strengthen the M142 HIMARS and M270 MLRS complexes’ strike capabilities would be made shortly. Despite rumours that the US ATACMS tactical missile for the M142 HIMARS and M270 MLRS guided rocket artillery will be given to Ukraine, the source of the Russian press claims that a final decision has not yet been taken in this regard.
Although the US is attempting to encourage the provision of long-range offensive weaponry to Ukraine, this matter is currently undergoing extensive discussion to best meet the demands of the battlefield. It is well known that the US intends to send 300 km-capable ATACMS Block IA missiles to Ukraine. Both the entirety of the Donbass region and a sizeable portion of Russian territory are extremely seriously threatened by this.
The M31A1 carries 404 rounds, while the ATACMS Block IA missile has up to 950 submunitions. As a result, the fundamental characteristic of these missiles is not their intended striking range, but rather the amount of submunitions they carry.
An ATACMS Block IA missile can cover up to 31,000 m2, therefore using this weapon to strike the Russian army’s supply and ammo depots will be exceedingly threatening. With a depth of attack of 300 km, Russia will have to relocate its stockpiles far from the front lines, increasing the likelihood of logistical problems similar to those that occurred in the early stages of the campaign and becoming more serious given that Russian artillery is currently requesting enormous quantities of ammunition.
Additionally, on the evening of July 9, the M270 MLRS heavy missile system, which had just recently entered the arsenal of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, conducted its first attacks against the Lugansk region. The precise-guided rocket shell hit an ammo stockpile and explosives, according to some information from the field, while the precise nature of the target that was destroyed is unknown.
In Alchevsk, fires were reportedly seen in satellite data. Many ammo explosions are still being heard right now; this is due to an explosion caused by an M31 missile that was fired from an M270 MLRS system that was just transferred from the UK to Ukraine. Preliminary information suggests that the strike may have originated in the Konstantinovka area, where American M142 HIMARS and UK-delivered M270 MLRS have both been spotted recently.
Although the severity of the current situation in Alchevsk and whether the population has to be evacuated are still unknowns, it is obvious that there is risk for the city’s citizens based on the power and frequency of the explosions. Experts point out that the Armed Forces of Ukraine continue to use the powerful MLRSs supplied by the West during the night, making them harder to identify by drones and considerably complicating the interceptor procedure.
Four M31A2 missiles, according to sources, were launched into the Alchevsk district. When the ATACMS Block IA missile joins the conflict, Russia may be in much greater trouble in the future.