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CNN: US May Send Heavier Artillery to Ukraine
By Staff, Agencies
CNN revealed that “As early as next week, the US Biden administration could announce an escalation in the weapons supply to Ukraine, possibly allowing deliveries of MLRS and HIMARS long-range multiple rocket launchers.”
The M270 Multiple Launch Rocket System [MLRS] and the M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System [HIMARS] are two versions of US-made rocket artillery systems that can mostly fire the same types of rockets.
Depending on the projectile used, they can have a range of up to 500km, though the more affordable munitions offer an effective firing range of 32 to 70km. The main difference is that the MLRS is a heavier tracked system that carries twice the number of rockets as the wheeled truck-mounted HIMARS.
According to CNN sources, the Biden administration has been reluctant to supply rocket artillery due to concerns that Kiev could use the systems to attack targets inside Russia. A number of shelling and helicopter raids have targeted Russian territory in the past several weeks, which Moscow blamed on the Ukrainian side.
Officials in Washington are reportedly concerned that Moscow would perceive the delivery of the MLRS and HIMARS, with their potential to fire tactical ballistic missiles, as a major provocation. There are also concerns that the weapon systems would have to come from the US’ own inventory, which is limited, CNN sources said.
Pentagon officials met with the CEO of Lockheed Martin to discuss the potential ramping up of production of the MLRS, one source said. The UK has said it considered supplying the same rocket artillery systems from its own stockpile, but wanted to do so in conjunction with the US, the report added.
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