US Army Demonstrates HIMARS Firepower in Estonia: Strengthening NATO Ties & Bolstering Baltic Defense

Tapa, Estonia - The U.S. Army demonstrated the prowess of the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) in a live-fire drill, emphasizing its effectiveness and strengthening ties with NATO partners in Estonia on September 27, 2023
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U.S. Soldiers assigned to 3rd Battalion, 27th Field Artillery Regiment, 18th Field Artillery Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division, supporting 3rd Infantry Division, demonstrate M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) operations to NATO’s enhanced Forward Presence Battle Group Estonia allies during a live-fire exercise at Estonian Central Training Area, Estonia, September 27, 2023.(Picture source U.S. Army)

U.S. soldiers of Task Force Voit from the U.S. Army 3rd Battalion, 27th Field Artillery Regiment, 18th Field Artillery Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division, who are supporting the 3rd Infantry Division, conducted the M142 HIMARS demonstration for NATO's Forward Presence Battle Group Estonia at the Estonian Defense Force’s main training grounds.

This exercise highlighted the HIMARS system's capabilities, with Task Force Voit members undergoing gunnery qualification. This event was the culmination of extensive joint training sessions, where Estonian forces collaborated with U.S. troops at Camp Tapa. This collaboration was further underscored by Estonia's acquisition of the HIMARS system from the U.S. last year, aiming to bolster its defense capabilities.

Task Force Voit, actively training in the Baltic with NATO counterparts, supports the 3rd Infantry Division's Task Force Marne. Their European mission involves participating in multinational drills across the continent, collaborating with NATO members and ensuring a robust presence for V Corps, the U.S.'s primary corps stationed in Europe.

The HIMARS, or High Mobility Artillery Rocket System, is a lightweight mobile artillery system that can fire both guided and unguided rockets, as well as tactical ballistic missiles. It's mounted on a 6x6 truck, which provides it with high mobility and the ability to be rapidly deployed. This makes the HIMARS particularly suitable for quick reaction and rapid target engagement, especially in scenarios where a swift response is required.

On the other hand, the MLRS, or Multiple Launch Rocket System, is a more traditional artillery rocket system. It's designed to deliver a significant volume of firepower in a short amount of time. The MLRS can saturate an area with rockets, making it effective against a range of targets, including enemy artillery, air defenses, and infantry formations.

The M142 HIMARS system, donated by the US to Ukrainian forces, has been employed extensively against Russian positions. One of the notable uses of the HIMARS by Ukrainian forces was in conjunction with 'Shark' drones to target and eliminate five Russian Buk missile systems. The combination of drones for reconnaissance and targeting, followed by precision strikes from the HIMARS, showcases the system's capability to engage and destroy sophisticated enemy assets with high accuracy.

Furthermore, long-range weapons like the US-made HIMARS rockets, which have a reach of up to 80 km (50 miles), have proven to be devastating in the conflict in Ukraine. The precision and range of the HIMARS system allow it to effectively neutralize Russian army artillery systems, tanks, and other high-value targets, making it a valuable asset in the Ukrainian arsenal against Russian forces.

Defense News October 2023