US agreed to sell eight M142s and 18 ATACMS SSMs to Lithuania
WASHINGTON — Lithuania will become the next European country to acquire the American High Mobility Artillery Rocket System M142 known as HIMARS. After Poland, Latvia, Estonia, and Romania, as well as those donated to Ukraine, the US sells M142s to allies close to Russia.
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Nearly half a billion US dollars will have to be paid by Vilnius to Washington to secure the missile systems. In addition to the eight M142s, Lithuania will receive 36 M30A2 multiple launch guided missile systems [GMLRS] with alternative warhead [AW] missile pods with an insensitive munitions propulsion system [IMPS]. The US has agreed to let Lithuania acquire one of the biggest advantages of the M142 – it’s long-range – through the delivery of 18 missile pods of the Army’s M57 Tactical Missile System [ATACMS].
Additionally, as part of the armament of future Lithuanian missile systems, 36 M31A2 GMLRS single rocket pods, 36 XM403 Extended Range GMLRS [ER GMLRS] with alternative warhead [AW] rocket pods with IMPS, and 36 XM404 GMLRS single pods with extended range will arrive scope [ER GMLRS] with IMPS.
The Defense Security Cooperation Agency [DSCA] has already notified Congress of the sale. Lithuania wanted these systems against the backdrop of the war in Ukraine, and last month, on October 9, the agreement with the US was signed.
The M142 will modernize Lithuania’s defenses. At the same time, the US is selling weapons to a NATO member country and its staunch ally. This will further strengthen Washington’s influence in the Baltic region. The US will provide training and integration of the M142 into Latvian defense structures.
HIMARS rediscovered the market in Europe after the start of the war in Ukraine. The capabilities of the missile system reach the general public daily through social media. The Ukrainian armed forces are proficient with the M142, with several successfully documented attacks carried out with this system.
Unlike Lithuania, Ukraine has no supplies of the ATACMS missile. This is a missile with a long-range – 300 km. According to Washington, the delivery of this missile is the White House’s red line vis-a-vis Moscow. Washington fears that Ukrainian forces would use ATAKMS to attack targets inside Russian territory. This could escalate the conflict and go beyond the territory of Ukraine.
About M142 HIMARS
The M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System [HIMARS] is a light multiple rocket launcher designed in the late 1990s. This system also falls into the category of tactical ballistic system, because it fires a missile type MGM-140 Army Tactical Missile System [ATACMS].
The manufacturer of M142 HIMARS is Lockheed Martin. The system has documented participation in three wars: the war in Iraq, the war in Afghanistan, and the Syrian Civil War. According to unconfirmed information and according to the claims of Ukraine’s military intelligence, the M142 HIMARS was delivered by the United States to the Ukrainian armed forces, and the system is actively involved in the war against Russia.
The United States, Singapore, the UAE, Jordan, and Romania are the operators of M142 HIMARS at the moment. Poland is the next country to acquire [or has already acquired] this missile system, and potential customers of M142 HIMARS are at least ten other countries from Europe, Asia, and the Middle East.
M142 HIMARS launches 227 mm caliber missiles. Depending on the type of ammunition, the system has a different operating range – from 2 to 300 km and from 300 to 500 km if it uses Precision Strike Missile [PsM] – a missile also manufactured by Lockheed Martin. The crew consists of three people, the main armament is 6 × 227 mm M26, M30 / M31 series rockets, or 1 MGM-140 ATACMS missile.
The M142 HIMARS is mounted on a standard Army M1140 truck frame. It is powered by a diesel engine that guarantees a top speed of 85 km / h [52.8 mph]. With one refueling of the fuel tank, the system can travel just under 500 km.
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