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18 Oct, 2023 14:57

US supplied Ukraine with old ATACMS – media

Newer versions of the US-made missiles would not stand against Russia’s air defenses, a German journalist claims
US supplied Ukraine with old ATACMS – media

The long-range ATACMS missiles Washington had delivered to Kiev are allegedly not the most modern ones, German journalist Julian Roepcke claimed in a series of social media posts on Tuesday. The reporter, who works with the tabloid Bild and wrote a piece on the issue, explained that Russian defenses would simply intercept the most modern GPS-guided missiles.

“The US provided Ukraine with the original old version of the missile (MGM-140A),” Roepcke said, adding that the projectiles handed over to Kiev have a “classic inertial navigation system” instead of GPS guidance.

That makes them fully autonomous and immune to signal jamming. Yet, such systems are prone to accumulating navigation mistakes, which can reduce the missile’s accuracy depending on the range. Missiles with such navigation systems also usually require a rather lengthy pre-launch adjustment to input the target coordinates.

Newer, GPS-guided ATACMS versions would still be even less effective in a fight against Russia, the journalist maintained, adding that Moscow’s troops have been known for their “successful … jamming attacks on most GPS-guided weapons” used by Kiev’s forces.

The older versions also have a range of about 165km instead of more than 300km in the case of the newer ATACMS missiles, Roepcke said. He added that such an operational radius drastically reduces Ukraine’s capabilities of potentially striking targets deeper in the Russian-controlled territory and makes the area from which they can be fired at some Russian rear positions very limited.

Earlier this week, US National Security Council spokesperson Adrienne Watson confirmed that the US had only provided Ukraine with a “type of ATACMS capable of ranging out to 165km.” “We believe this will provide a significant boost to Ukraine’s battlefield capabilities without risking our military readiness,” she said in a statement cited by the American media.

Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky thanked Washington for supplying the missiles on Tuesday. He also claimed that Kiev’s troops had already used them against the Russian forces. The Ukrainian military stated that Russia’s “airfields and helicopters” in the Lugansk and Zaporozhye regions had been struck with the projectiles.

On Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that the ATACMS deliveries would only “prolong the agony” of Ukraine, adding that Russian forces would be able to repel any such attacks that would ultimately hardly affect the course of the conflict.