The United States secretly modified the HIMARS missile systems supplied to Ukraine, to reduce their range. The “Wall Street Journal” (WSJ) reveals it.
According to the Biden administration, this preventive measure is necessary to reduce the risk of an escalation of the conflict with Russia if the Ukrainian military decides to use American missile systems to strike Russian territory.
The United States has supplied Ukraine with a total of 20 HIMARS systems and a large number of satellite-guided missiles with a range of about 75 km. These missiles, called GMLRS, are in use actively to target Russian ammunition depotstransport networks and command posts in the occupied territory of Ukraine.
However, due to special modifications, HIMARS cannot use powerful ATACMS missiles capable of hitting targets at a range of up to 300 km.
The US does not supply ATACMS missiles to Ukraine anyway, but changes have been made in case Kiev can acquire ATACMS from third countries. Furthermore, the HIMARS supplied to Ukraine absolutely cannot use missiles other than GMLRS, even though Kiev could develop or acquire such munitions itself.
The Pentagon did not go into detail about exactly what changes were made to the Ukrainian systems, and the military only confirmed that it applied to both software, as well as for the mechanical parts.
“For operational security reasons, we do not publicly comment on the configuration of combat systems supplied to our allies and partners,” said Pentagon spokesman Brigadier General Patrick Ryder. – But the United States will continue to provide Ukraine with the means it needs to resist Russian aggression.