US Army Set to Deliver ATACMS tactical missile to Ukraine Pending Presidential Approval

Washington D.C., United States, October 3, 2023 - Recent reports from the International Press Agency Bloomberg indicate that the U.S. Army stands poised to transfer ATACMS tactical missiles to Ukraine, contingent upon an official nod from U.S. President Joe Biden.
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U.S. soldiers were in White Sands Missile Range on December 14th, 2021 to conduct live fire testing of ATACMS tactical missile. (Picture source U.S. DoD)

In a preceding announcement last month, the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) revealed preparations by the U.S. Army to commence deliveries of the ATACMS's successor, the Precision Strike Missile. Lockheed Martin Corp, a global aerospace and defense company, manufactures both missile systems. Washington's earlier hesitance to transfer long-range missiles was attributed to limited stockpiles of these armaments.

Simultaneously, President Joe Biden has communicated to Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy the U.S.'s commitment to provide Ukraine with a select consignment of ATACMS long-range missiles, bolstering their defense in the ongoing conflict with Russia.

The push for this move has been ongoing, with U.S. lawmakers consistently advocating for the dispatch of ATACMS to Ukraine. Sources close to the situation disclosed that President Biden, after months of deliberation, conveyed his willingness to proceed with the transfer during President Zelenskyy's recent visit to Washington.

The ATACMS (Army Tactical Missile System) is a family of short-range, surface-to-surface missiles developed by the United States. If provided to the Ukrainian forces, the ATACMS would significantly enhance their combat capabilities. One of the primary advantages is its extended range, allowing Ukrainian forces to strike targets at distances of up to 300 kilometers. This means they can engage enemy assets and infrastructure from a safe distance.

Additionally, the ATACMS is equipped with a GPS guidance system, which ensures high accuracy in hitting its targets, thereby reducing the risk of collateral damage. The versatility of the missile system also means it can be equipped with various warheads, making it adaptable to different mission requirements. Overall, the integration of ATACMS into the Ukrainian arsenal would offer them a formidable and precise long-range strike capability.

The ATACMS (Army Tactical Missile System) can be launched from the M270 MLRS (Multiple Launch Rocket System) and the M142 HIMARS (High Mobility Artillery Rocket System). Both of these launch platforms are used by the U.S. Army and have the capability to fire a variety of munitions, including the ATACMS. The M270 MLRS is a tracked vehicle that can carry two ATACMS missiles (or multiple smaller rockets), while the HIMARS is a wheeled vehicle that carries a single ATACMS missile (or six smaller rockets). The flexibility of these launch platforms allows for rapid deployment and firing of the ATACMS in various operational scenarios. Both M270 and M142 HIMARS are now in service with the Ukrainian armed forces.

Defense News October 2023