Russia is developing a “new tactic” to counter the impact of US-supplied High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) that have left Russian troops in “a desperate state”, according to a Ukrainian official.
Oleksiy Danilov, secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, told Sky News in an interview published on Thursday that the new tactic was called “dispersion”.
“They now do less ammo stacking etc. But that doesn’t help them,” he said.
US HIMARS in Ukraine, 16 of which have been sent to the war-torn country so far, have drawn attention in recent weeks for their reported success in strikes against Russia. Dozens of Russian ammunition dumps are among the targets Ukraine said it destroyed, which is why Russia may try to disperse its ammunition.
Newsweek could not independently verify the new Russian tactic to counter HIMARS strikes. The Defense Ministries of Russia and Ukraine have been contacted for confirmation and comments.
According to HIMARS maker Lockheed Martin, the systems have a “recognized and proven” range of up to 300 kilometers, which equates to about 186 miles, and can deliver “fast, long-range precision strikes”. The company said the ammunition under development will be able to offer a greater range of 499 kilometers, or about 310 miles, in the future.
Danilov told Sky News that Russian soldiers were “afraid” of weapons.
“First, they don’t know where the missiles will come from, they can’t intercept them,” he said. “They fall into a trance state.”
Ukraine’s success with the HIMARS was “unexpected” for Russia, and they achieved such notoriety in the war that the acronym “is synonymous with the word ‘death'”, according to Danilov.
American and Ukrainian officials have repeatedly touted the effectiveness of HIMARS against Russian targets.
The latest US security assistance package to Ukraine, worth $1 billion, included additional HIMARS munitions. In a statement from the Pentagon on Monday detailing the contents of the package, Colin Kahl, the undersecretary of defense for policy, explained that Ukraine has successfully leveraged one type of HIMARS munition, the rocket-powered rocket system. Guided Multiple Launch (GMLRS), against Russia.
“The munitions themselves, these GMLRS…have a very profound effect,” he said. “It’s a 200-pound warhead, it’s kind of the equivalent of an airstrike, frankly – a precision-guided airstrike. It’s GPS-guided munitions. It’s been very effective in hitting things Ukrainians previously struggled to hit reliably.”
When the last shipment of four HIMARS arrived in Ukraine last week, Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov celebrated the delivery and thanked the United States for bolstering its military.
“We have proven ourselves to be smart operators of this weapon,” he said. tweeted. “The sound of the #HIMARS volley has become this summer’s top hit on the front line!”