Video Above: The Impact of Stinger Missiles, Javelin Missiles and Switchblade Drones in Russia Ukraine War
Several months ago, Ukrainian President Zelensky listed Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS) as among his key priorities of needed weapons to defend against the Russian invasion, yet despite multiple entreaties, it does not appear as though any kind of longer-range rockets or missiles have arrived or been sent.
Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS)
Such weapons, which are not on the US State Department’s published lists of US weapons provided to Ukraine, could give the Ukrainians the ability to target Russia’s missile launch locations, airfields and staging areas inside Russia from safer standoff distances.
This could be extremely critical for Ukraine as it might offer some kind of an opportunity to defend against the lethal and consistent onslaught of Russian missile attacks striking residential neighborhoods throughout Ukraine.
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said multi-national deliberations continue on a regular basis between US, NATO and Ukrainian leaders with the hope of expediting needed weapons and supplies on an accelerated basis. Kirby did not specifically comment on the possibility of MLRS but made a general remark about Pentagon efforts to support Ukraine’s war needs.
“We are talking to them in real time about this ourselves. If we can’t provide something, we will also work with allies,” Kirby told reporters.
Kirby did offer that the Pentagon tries to provide systems that will not require extensive or elaborate training but rather weapons with which they may already have some familiarity. However, most conventional rocket and missile systems are fairly easy to operate and it would at very least seem quite likely that the US has a sizable inventory. However, there may be variables associated with US stockpiles or other unknown reasons why the Pentagon has not sent these kinds of weapons.
Recommended for You
The absence of long range fires could likely be presenting problems for Ukraine, as civilian areas throughout the country continue to be bombarded with long range rockets, cruise missiles and even some ballistic missiles. While the Ukrainians do have artillery, most of these kinds of systems are not able to reach several hundred miles and therefore might not be able to attack Russian airfields or launch systems based several hundred miles inside Russia.
The only way to target Russian staging areas several hundred miles inland would be through airstrikes, which are of course highly contested, or the use of long range rockets and missiles.
The US, for example, does operate MLRS as well as High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) capable of attacking at ranges as far as 300 miles away. The US and NATO allies also have short range ballistic missiles and are not testing intermediate range ballistic missiles in more recent years given the collapse of the INF treaty with Russia. As part of its MLRS inventory, the US Army also operates Guided Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (GMLRS), weapons which use GPS guidance for precision and can more than double the range of many artillery systems.
Video Above: Russia Has Precision Weapons & Could Avoid Attacking Children & Civilians
Is the Pentagon hesitant to send long range strike weapons which could reach inside Russia? That could be one possibility as it is possible Russia might see that as an escalation of US involvement in some respects, even if Ukrainians were actually using or firing the weapons.
Regardless, if not the US, it would seem entirely possible that a NATO ally could supply the Ukrainians with the kinds of long-range fires needed to go after Russian launchers, staging areas and airfields. That might be one of the only ways to slow down or stop the relentless Russian missile attacks which are killing Ukrainian civilians and children.
Kris Osborn is the President of Warrior Maven - Center for Military Modernization and the Defense Editor for the National Interest. Osborn previously served at the Pentagon as a Highly Qualified Expert with the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army—Acquisition, Logistics & Technology. Osborn has also worked as an anchor and on-air military specialist at national TV networks. He has appeared as a guest military expert on Fox News, MSNBC, The Military Channel, and The History Channel. He also has a Masters Degree in Comparative Literature from Columbia University.