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6 May, 2023 07:40

Russians can force HIMARS rockets off course – CNN

The US-made weapon system has become “increasingly less effective,” a source told the network
Gints Ivuskans / AFP

Russia has been using jamming techniques in recent months to force the US-supplied HIMARS mobile multiple rocket launchers off course, CNN reported on Friday, citing five US, UK, and Ukrainian sources familiar with the matter. According to the network, these efforts are making GPS-guided munitions “increasingly less effective.”

The HIMARS, which can strike targets up to 50 miles (80km) away, is one of the most sophisticated weapon systems the US has provided to Kiev since Moscow launched its military operation in the neighboring state in February 2022.

A Ukrainian drone operator was quoted as describing the efforts to disrupt the work of HIMARS launchers as “significant,” and something he had not seen before last November. A Pentagon official described the process of finding new ways to combat Russia’s efforts to throw the rockets off course as “a constant cat-and-mouse game.” 

A senior Pentagon official told CNN that the US has been helping the Ukrainians to fight the jamming by adjusting targeting software and “constant tweaking to get them to stay effective.” The official said updates have been made “as recently as this week.”

The US has committed 38 HIMARS systems to Ukraine since the conflict broke out, according to the Pentagon and the State Department.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in January that lethal aid to Kiev has made NATO “directly involved in the hybrid war against Russia.” Officials in Moscow have accused Ukraine of using HIMARS and other Western-supplied weapons to indiscriminately fire at cities and kill civilians.

On Thursday, three people, including a six-year-old boy, were injured in Donetsk after the Donbass city was hit by HIMARS missiles, the local authorities said.