Is The HIMARS Multiple Rocket Launch System a Game Changer?

Short answer, no. At least not for Ukraine’s military. But it is a game changer for Lockheed Martin stockholders, with the defense contractor enjoying great publicity and new orders. Although the Ukrainians are firing hundreds of HIMARS a month they are having limited success in causing significant damage to the Russian military personnel and ammo depots. In fact, it appears Russia is shooting most of the HIMARS rockets out of the sky with their air defense systems. That lack of success has not stopped Lockheed from locking down new contracts with the Department of Defense. But if you think that Lockheed is cranking out HIMARS at a rapid rate, think again. The production process is best described as leisurely:

What’s interesting is that the Army lays out a five-year schedule that calls for almost 500 new HIMARS, which are currently built by Lockheed Martin. From the 2024 to 2028 fiscal years, the Army is contemplating a minimum of 24 new launchers a year and a maximum of 96, totaling 120 to 480 over five years. https://www.businessinsider.com/us-army-looking-to-build-hundreds-more-himars-launchers-2022-9?op=1

Lockheed’s production of the rockets with guidance systems that are fired from the HIMARS launcher also is proceeding at a snail’s pace–ie, it only produces 9000 GMLRS rounds a year. Ukraine reportedly fired at least 500 of those rockets in September alone and Russia claims it shot them all down. It is a pricey weapon system for little bang. (“Lockheed Tests Improved GMLRS Rocket”. Army technology. 8 November 2009.)

HIMARS carries a single six-pack of GMLRS rockets or one TACMS missile, according to Lockheed Martin. Individual GMLRS rockets cost about $100,000. https://www.newsweek.com/who-makes-himars-cost-launch-missile-fire-manufacture-1752295

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The HIMARS is a pricey weapons system that is having scant effect on the battlefield. I have reproduced below the daily briefing of the Russian Ministry of Defense regarding the HIMARS. I am unable to count the exact number of HIMARS fired because on some days the Russian MOD counteds of HIMARS and intercept Olkha MRLS together. Nonetheless, the number HIMARS GMLRS rockets shot down by Russian air defense systems appears to be at least 500. If we assume that all of the 623 rockets reported downed by Russia were HIMARS, that represents $62.3 million dollars worth of rockets. If the HIMARS were wiping out Russian troops, command headquarters and ammunition depots on a daily basis do you think Ukraine and the Western media would report it? Absolutely!! So it is the lack of reporting on this that catches my eye. I think this offers indirect evidence that bolsters the credibility of the claims by the Russian MOD.

Russia’s UN Ambassador made the point in a Security Council session today that the HIMARS is killing civilians and harmful civilian infrastructure:

Let’s see for what they are actually used. According to DPR-LPR data, only on the territory controlled by the republics from … February to October, as the result of the Ukrainian attacks with the use of heavy weapons, there were destroyed more than 10 thousand houses and more than 2000 civil infrastructure facilities , including 424 educational and 109 medical facilities. For these attacks the American HIMARS MLRS were actively used. The French Caesars also used the opportunity to show their power in an unequal battle with the residential buildings, schools and other civilian targets. Directly from the French weapons in Donetsk since the June this year, no less than five people died, ten were injured, more than 64 buildings were destroyed. https://thesaker.is/extremely-important-russian-warning-to-the-un-security-council-must-see/

Here are the daily stats for HIMARS shot down:

44 of HIMARS have been intercepted near Muzykovka, Znamenka, Veseloye, Kamenka, Daryivka, Novaya Kakhovka, Berislav, Dnepriany and Tomarino. 1 September MOD Report 14 shells of American HIMARS multiple-launch missile system have beened near Styla in intercept Donetsk People’s Republic, Kherson, Berislav and Novaya Kakhovka in Kherson Region. 2 September including 44 launched by HIMARS system, 3 September 11 projectiles launched by US-manufactured HIMARS multiple rocket-launching system have been intercepted near Kakhovka hydroelectric power plant. 6 September 20 projectiles of HIMARS and Olkha MRLS have been intercepted near Kakhovka hydroelectric plant, Korsunka, Novaya Kakhovka, Golaya Pristan (Kherson region), 7 September 16 launched by HIMARS, have been intercepted near Novaya Kakhovka, Molodyozhnoye (Kherson region), Novoosinovo , Grushevka (Kharkov region) 8 September 18 projectiles launched by HIMARS and Olkha MRLS have been destroyed in air near Novaya Kakhovka and Golaya Pristan (Kherson region), as well as near Kakhovka hydroelectric plant. 9 September 5 projectiles launched by HIMARS MRLS have been destroyed in air near Novaya Kakhovka (Kherson region). 10 September In the area of ​​Novaya Kakhovka, Kherson region, 12 shells of the US-made HIMARS multiple rocket-launch systems were intercepted. 11 September 8 projectiles launched by HIMARS and Olkha MRLS have been destroyed in air near Kakhovka hydroelectric plant, Lyubimovka, Berislav and Tavriyskoye (Kherson region). 12 September 26 launched by HIMARS near Musikovka, Novaya Kakhovka, Vesyoloye, Rakovka, Tomarino, Kakhovka hydroelectric plant, Antonovka bridge (Kherson region) and Staromlinovka (Donetsk People’s Republic). 14 September 30 HIMARS and Olkha MRLS projectiles near Kakhovka hydroelectric plant, Kherson city and Trudovoye (Zaporozhye region). 15 September53 projectiles launched by HIMARS and Olkha MRLS have been destroyed near Avdotyino (Donetsk People’s Republic), Golaya Pristan, Novaya Kakhovka, Antonovka, Vesyoloye (Kherson region) and Mirnoye (Zaporozhye region). 15 September 53 projectiles launched by HIMARS and Olkha MRLS have been destroyed near Avdotyino (Donetsk People’s Republic), Golaya Pristan, Novaya Kakhovka, Antonovka, Vesyoloye (Kherson region) and Mirnoye (Zaporozhye region). 16 September 25 projectiles launched by HIMARS and Olkha MRLS have been destroyed in air near Novaya Kakhovka and Kherson. 17 September 8 shells of the HIMARS multiple launch missile system were destroyed near Novaya Kakhovka (Kherson region), and the city of Kherson. 18 September 24 rocket-propelled projectiles launched by HIMARS and Olkha multiple rocket-launching systems have been intercepted near Volnovakha, Korsun (Donetsk People’s Republic), Kherson, Tavriysk, Berislav, Vesyoloye and Novaya Kakhovka (Kherson region), as well as near Chervony Promin (Nikolaev region). 19 September 27 projectiles launched by US-manufactured HIMARS and Olkha MRLS have been shot down near Donetsk, Chervonopopovka (Lugansk People’s Republic), Novaya Kakhovka, Berislav, Verovka, Tomarino and Vesyoloye (Kherson region). 20 September 28 projectiles launched by US-manufactured HIMARS MRLS and 3 HARM anti-radar missiles have been destroyed near Svistunovka (Lugansk People’s Republic), Chernobayevka, Zavetnoye and near Kakhovka hydroelectric plant (Kherson region). 21 September 27 projectiles launched by HIMAR, have been destroyed in air near Svatovo (Lugansk People’s Republic), Kakhovka hydroelectric plant and Kherson, 22 September Air defense facilities have also destroyed in air 42 rocket-propelled projectiles launched by US-manufactured HIMARS multiple rocket -launching system (MRLS) 23 September 42 projectiles launched by HIMARS and Olkha multiple rocket-launching systems, as well as HARM anti-radar missiles have been destroyed in air near Novaya Kakhovka (Kherson region). 24 September 18 HIMARS missileed near Novaya Kakhovka (Kherson region), and Valeryanovka (Donetsk People’s Republic) have been intercepted in the air. 25 September 19 projectiles launched by HIMARS and Olkha multiple rocket-launching systems have been destroyed in air near Antonovka bridge (Kherson region), as well as near Svatovo (Lugansk People’s Republic) and Novaya Kakhovka (Kherson region). 26 September 17 projectiles launched by HIMARS multiple rocket-launching systems near Kherson, Otradokamenka, Novaya Kakhovka, Mikhaylovka (Kherson region) and Kupyansk (Kharkov region) have been destroyed. 27 September 7 projectiles launched by HIMARS and Olkha multiple-launch missile systems have been destroyed in air near Donetsk, Bryanka (Lugansk People’s Republic), Novaya Kakhovka and Vesyoloye (Kherson region). 28 September 17 projectiles launched by US-manufactured HIMARS multiple launch missile systems and 1 US-manufactured HARM anti-radar missile have been destroyed in air near Novaya Kakhovka (Kherson region) and Kherson. 29 September 18 US-manufactured missile-propelled projectiles launched by HIMARS MLRS over Kherson, near Novaya Kakhovka, Chervony Mayak (Kherson region) and 2 US-manufactured HARM anti-radar missiles over Novaya Kakhovka (Kherson region) were destroyed. 30 September

If there is an enterprising soul out there with some free time, please parse all of the MOD reports and compile the data for all HIMARS downed since the system was delivered to Ukraine.

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