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Jul 26, 2022
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Military Watch: North Korea is ready to help the Russians in the hunt for HIMARS in Ukraine

Military Watch: North Korea is ready to help the Russians in the hunt for HIMARS in Ukraine

Photo: Zuma/TASS

The farther, the more obvious that the American MLRS HIMARS in the hands of our enemies are turning into an independent and very formidable factor in the hostilities in Ukraine. Although for the first time Kyiv put this weapon into action at the front relatively recently – on June 24th.

The most striking thing is that on the entire vast front of 2500-kilometer length, there were still quite a few such machines at the disposal of the Armed Forces of Ukraine until recently – twelve. For exactly as much by the middle of this month, the United States delivered to Kyiv.

Now the Armed Forces of Ukraine have only eight left. This is if you believe the statement of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation on July 22 that “From July 5 to 20, the Russian Armed Forces in Ukraine destroyed four launchers and one transport-loading vehicle of HIMARS multiple launch rocket systems. We managed to hit the equipment with the help of high-precision ground and air-based weapons.”

Or does the APU still have twelve HIMARS left today? This is if you do NOT believe the victory report from Moscow.

Because, firstly, the very next day after the said statement by our defense department about the first victories over HIMARS, the head of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley officially refuted it. He said: “To date, these systems have not been destroyed by the Russians. And I knock on wood every time I say something like that.”

Finally, secondly. Moscow itself could very easily bring clarity to this dispute between the two departments warring on the fields of Ukraine by publishing satellite images of at least part of the four MLRS that it, according to the Russian Defense Ministry, sent for scrap. But for some reason it doesn’t post. Therefore, many doubts about the success of our fight against such MLRS really remain.

These doubts are all the stronger since the daily and incessant HIMARS strikes against our troops have long become an indispensable detail of the official Russian reports on the progress of the special operation in Ukraine. From the latest in descending order:

– at 03.00 on July 25, Ukrainian troops fired five rockets from the HIMARS MLRS at Alchevsk, Luhansk region. The previous shelling of Alchevsk from the American HIMARS MLRS took place on the evening of July 16;

– on the night of Sunday, July 24, Ukrainian troops fired at the village of Krasny Luch in the same region with six HIMARS MLRS rockets;

– On July 23, the bridge across the dam in Novaya Kakhovka (Kherson region) near the largest hydroelectric power station was attacked with the same weapon. Previously, HIMARS had already hit the same target on July 18th. And on Novaya Kakhovka itself – July 12;

– on the same day, seven American MLRS missiles hit the most important for our military logistics bridge across the Ingulets River near the village of Daryevka (Kherson region);

– On July 22, units of the Armed Forces of Ukraine fired three HIMARS MLRS missiles at the village of Horokhoye (LPR). The shelling was recorded at 03:00 local time;

– On July 21, twelve rockets fired at the Antonovsky bridge across the Dnieper from the direction of Nikolaev. All ammunition on the approach was shot down by Russian air defense. This was probably achieved due to the fact that our defense near the bridge was urgently reinforced by additional air defense systems removed from other directions (presumably of the Buk and Tor types) after the previous shelling;

– on the night of July 20, twelve missiles were fired by HIMARS systems on the Antonovsky Bridge. Seven hits were recorded. The facility, which mainly supplies the entire Russian group on the right bank of the Dnieper, is seriously damaged. “If the strikes continue, it may collapse,” said the deputy head of the military-civilian administration of the region Kirill Stremousov;

– On July 19, six of the same missiles were fired at the Antonovsky Bridge by the Armed Forces of Ukraine. One hit the target, the rest were shot down.

Agree: whatever one may say, it is a very disturbing chronicle. Especially when you consider that we are talking about American launchers, the total number of which, in any case, is easy to count on the fingers.

It is clear that we are trying to organize a real hunt for them. But, alas, so far we are not very successful in this field. Because the enemy has delivered and continues to deliver high-precision strikes against us on a daily basis in two operational directions at once.

What is the reason? There are probably several of them. Of the main (exclusively in my opinion):

– the highest mobility of HIMARS complexes, at speeds up to 85 kilometers per hour, jumping out to the starting position, delivering a devastating blow in just five to ten minutes and then instantly rushing back. The return volleys of Russian artillerymen fall exclusively into the already deserted glades. For the same reasons, “Daggers”, “Caliber” and “Iskanders” in such a hunt are not our helpers either;

– just a glaring lack of reconnaissance and strike drones in the Russian troops that can really compensate for this weakness of our artillery. A shortcoming that, according to Western sources, we are now frantically trying to compensate for through emergency purchases from Iran;

– the air defense system of Ukraine, which we have not completely suppressed for half a year of battles, is still preventing massive raids by Russian military aviation on key objects deep in the enemy’s defenses by actions from ambushes and electronic guidance from the Americans;

– long-standing problems of the RF Armed Forces with the organization of long-range aviation reconnaissance and target designation. An example of how this should work in a modern war is shown by the Americans, whose AWACS are constantly loitering in the skies over Poland and Romania. They instantly record and transmit to Kyiv any take-off of our planes and helicopters, even from the territory of Russia, any activation of our radars and communication lines;

– according to knowledgeable people in Russia, “the implementation of continuous optical-electronic and radar reconnaissance of the city infrastructure and the surroundings of Nikolaev in order to reach the firing positions of Ukrainian rocket artillery systems and the timely issuance of target designation to combat crews of the Smerch MLRS on moving HIMARS would ensure their defeat even more until the moment of deployment to firing positions.

To do this, in the Smerch ammunition there are specialized 9M55K1 rockets, each of which is equipped with self-aiming combat elements Motiv-3M. However, judging by the results of almost two months of combat work, something is wrong with us and with Motives.

How we came to this military-technical despondency is not for today’s conversation. Let’s just note a fact that no one, I’m sure, is able to dispute: for the second month we have not been able to catch and destroy in the near rear of the enemy a ridiculously small number of enemy highly mobile weapons of fire, regularly causing a rustle where our enemies please.

But what will happen next when HIMARS on the other side of the front becomes noticeably larger? But it has already been decided and publicly announced.

It is known that four additional MLRS as part of the next package of US military assistance to Ukraine for a total of $ 270 million are already on their way across the ocean.

In addition, the other day the head of the Committee on Armed Forces of the US Congress Adam Smith so answered in absentia the request of the Minister of Defense of Ukraine Alexey Reznikov quickly provide Kyiv with at least fifty more launchers of such a formidable weapon: “It is not a fact that we have 50 HIMARS launchers in our arsenal. I think now the goal is to reach the number of 25-30 MLRS. This will be a combination of HIMARS and several MLRS systems from the UK and other countries. We will try to provide as much as we can.”

Thus, in the near future, the Americans intend to increase the number of these complexes on the Russian-Ukrainian front line by at least 200-250 percent.

Almost simultaneously, data appeared on the American government website, which publishes information on federal procurement, according to which the United States can purchase another 120 to 480 HIMARS multiple launch rocket systems. It is clear that not all of them are for the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Because in the ranks of petitioners with outstretched hands are still, for example, representatives of the Polish Army. Which have already informed that they intend to buy up to 500 such complexes for themselves. But something, probably, and from this source can get to Kyiv.

Question: well, what should we do then with a sort of “happiness” on the front line and in our immediate rear? One of the possible exits last week was suggested by the American magazine Military Watch.

The publication writes: “States associated with Moscow may well provide it with artillery systems that match or exceed the characteristics of the HIMARS system. North Korea and China in the first place. They lead the way in the development of rocket artillery, producing systems that are unparalleled in the world.”

An example is the Chinese rocket artillery system PCL191, which, according to Military Watch, “is considered by many to be the most combat-ready in the world.” During tests in July 2021, this MLRS demonstrated a firing range of 500 kilometers. This is 543% further than HIMARS.

Thus, if Russia were to acquire such weapons, it would be able to cover “most of Ukraine without deploying outside Russia’s borders” with them.

Agree: sounds tempting. But, honestly, such a turn of events is still unlikely, given the very reserved position of Beijing in the current events in Ukraine. However, the situation, it is reasonable to assume, may change dramatically if the United States takes the risk of sharply aggravating the military-political situation around Taiwan.

Meanwhile, the American magazine believes, Moscow has a much more realistic second option. Associated with North Korea.

Overseas experts point out: “This country, due to the geography of the Korean Peninsula, has invested very heavily in the development of rocket artillery systems. The Korean KN-09 rocket artillery system, introduced around 2014, with a range of 200 kilometers, will comfortably outperform HIMARS. And, probably, it can be delivered very quickly and economically to the Russian army by its eastern neighbor.

However, the DPRK (probably with the unadvertised help of the Chinese) has recently acquired even more advanced MLRS than the KN-09, Military Watch admits. According to him, “a higher-end North Korean variant, the KN-25 system, first introduced in 2019, boasts an even longer range, in excess of 400 kilometers.” At the same time, both North Korean MLRS “are designed for maximum mobility, like HIMARS. And they use mobile launch vehicles that allow you to quickly redeploy after firing in much the same way as HIMARS.

Is there any chance for Moscow to reach an agreement with Pyongyang? Definitely there is. And big ones. First of all, because in the middle of this month, the DPRK suddenly went on a sharp escalation with the United States, together with Syria, officially recognizing the independence of the Donbass republics from Kyiv.

And, secondly, this country is no less interested than ours in the development of military-technical cooperation with the DPRK, which has long been frozen at the initiative of the Russian Federation.

On this occasion, the American magazine concludes that in exchange for long-range MLRS, Moscow can organize the transfer of technology or surplus of its combat aircraft to North Korea. Since aviation is the main weakness of the Korean defense sector.

Thus, the article says, the main difficulty of the hypothetical exchange is the only one: “Due to the UN arms embargo prohibiting the acquisition or sale of weapons to North Korea, such acquisitions must be carried out secretly and with a disguised origin.” Only how many people in the world are stopped by such bans?

Dossier “SP”

Each launcher of high-precision North Korean 300-mm KN-09 MLRS carries up to eight inertial-guided missiles. In preparation for application, the calculation uses data from the Russian global navigation system GLONASS or its Chinese counterpart Beidou.

Even more dangerous for the enemy is the 600-mm MLRS KN-25 “super-large caliber”. The weight of each of its eight-meter-long missiles is about three tons. They fly to the target along a ballistic trajectory at an altitude of up to 97 kilometers. And therefore they cannot be shot down by modern air defense systems of any country, as well as by fighter aircraft.

The large size and long range of the missile has led the United States to classify the weapon as a Short Range Ballistic Missile (SRBM).

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