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US is on the process to supply Ukraine with ATACMS tactical missile system.

| 2023

According to officials cited by The Wall Street Journal on June 29, 2023. While the decision, to supply Ukraine with tactical missile system ATACMS is still pending final approval at the highest levels, the United States has recognized the urgent need to bolster Ukraine's defense capabilities in the coming weeks.
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The U.S. Army 1st Battalion, 142nd Field Artillery, team fired an Army Tactical Missile System at White Sands Missile Range. (Picture source U.S. DoD )

U.S. lawmakers submitted a bill to U.S. Congress on June 16, proposing the allocation of $80 million for the purchase of ATACMS. The supply of these missiles has been a subject of intense debate among American politicians since last year. In July 2022, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan expressed reservations about providing ATACMS, fearing that such a move could escalate tensions and potentially trigger World War III.

However, in 2023, the White House's reluctance has waned regarding various previously withheld military equipment, including Abrams tanks and F-16 fighter jets. In May, President Biden stated that the possibility of supplying ATACMS to Ukraine was still under consideration.

The ATACMS missiles have a cylindrical body with a tapered profile towards a conical nose cone, improving their aerodynamic properties and enabling stable flight. They are powered by a solid rocket motor, offering increased reliability, quicker response time, and less maintenance compared to liquid-fueled engines. ATACMS can be equipped with unitary warheads for precise strikes on high-value targets or cluster munition warheads for area attacks. The ATACMS guidance system combines GPS and INS for accurate navigation and targeting, resisting interference, and minimizing collateral damage. They can be launched from mobile platforms such as the M270 MLRS and the M142 HIMARS, providing high mobility across different terrains. ATACMS is used to strike high-value targets and provide fire support to ground forces. They have a top speed of approximately Mach 3 (3704.4 km/h) and a range of up to 300 km (186 miles).

Critics argue that allies' hesitation to supply ATACMS missiles to Ukraine could hinder Kyiv's efforts to reclaim the remaining Ukrainian territory. The shortage of long-range weapons could also prolong Russia's aggressive war and result in the loss of thousands of lives.

While Washington has so far refrained from providing ATACMS, Kyiv recently received Storm Shadow long-range cruise missiles, with a range exceeding 250 kilometers, from the United Kingdom.

If such delivery of ATACMS missiles were to occur, it would mark a significant development in the Russo-Ukrainian conflict. This delivery would dramatically increase Ukraine's attack capabilities and its capacity to reclaim its occupied territories.


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