Did the US provide long-range missiles to the Ukrainian military to use on the HIMARS system?

Russian media quoted a representative of Ukraine’s separatists as saying that Kiev had received long-range missiles from the US for the HIMARS rocket artillery system. Neither Kiev nor Washington have commented on the information yet. 

Ukrainian separatists claim that the US has delivered to Ukraine long-range ER GMLRS and ATACMS Block I missiles with ranges of 120 and 150 km, respectively. The deputy commander of the first corps of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, Eduard Basurin, confirmed that the Armed Forces of Ukraine did indeed have such missiles.

“With the new HIMARS rocket artillery system and new missiles, the range of the Ukrainian army’s attack has increased significantly, from 80 to 120 and 150 km,” said Eduard Basurin. “In addition, 155mm artillery shells with increased intelligence have also been transferred to Ukraine by Western countries,” added Eduard Basurin.

It is known that ER GMLRS is an upgraded version of the M31 missile equipped with M142 and M270 rocket artillery systems, with a maximum range of up to 150 km, while ATACMS Block I is a ballistic missile capable of carrying according to the warhead and large range. Eduard Basurin said that with the possession of these types of long-range missiles, the Ukrainian military will increase its long-range attacks.

Washington has not officially announced the supply of these missiles, however, the US has recently provided Ukraine with some types of weapons, but they have not officially announced it. The guided-missile ER GMLRS is created on the basis of serial versions of the mass-launched guided missile system (GMLRS) and has a significant advantage in range.

Accordingly, each complex consists of 6 missiles, capable of being mounted on multiple launch rocket systems (MLRS) and high mobility artillery missile systems (HIMARS).

Thanks to the use of solid fuel, this missile can fly faster and farther than previous versions. The ER GMLRS missile is equipped with full-fledged tail rudders with extremely good control signal receivers for very high accuracy when hitting the target. The ER GMLRS uses navigation and flight command calculations are performed using GPS and inertial systems.

The introduction of ER GMLRS missile rounds has greatly increased the combat capacity of the M142 and M270 rocket artillery systems. Meanwhile, these systems are also capable of launching ATACMS tactical ballistic missiles. The US has long-range ATACMS missiles of the MGM-140 versions.

MGM-140 ATACMS is a line of tactical ballistic missiles developed by Lockheed Martin Corporation for the US military and some allied countries. The MGM-140 ballistic missile has a range of 150-300km depending on the variant. After being put into service, Lockheed Martin continued to develop the ATACMS project with the release of the next variants of the MGM-140, including MGM-140B – Block IA, MGM-164 ATACMS – Block II, and MGM- 168 ATACMS – Block IVA.

MGM-140 missile weighs 1.6 tons, 4m long, 610mm in diameter, and can carry many different types of warheads. Among them are fragmentation warheads capable of dealing damage on a large scale and they are guided by global positioning systems and inertial navigation.

Recently, the US is restarting the program to build a new version of this missile with a range of up to 500km.

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