Accuracy is important for two reasons

Monday, February 27th, 2023

The M270 Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) and M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) provided to Ukraine have decisively shaped the battlefield by engaging Russia’s logistics, command and control (C2) nodes, and troop concentrations:

This has prevented the RuAF from concentrating and massing artillery fire in a way that the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU) could not match, disrupted RuAF attempts to concentrate forces for offensives, and made command of Russian units a risky endeavour.


The HIMARS and MLRS launchers are armed with six and twelve M31A1 220mm missiles respectively. The missile guidance kits enable them to strike within 15 m of a target, although US Army tests indicate that they can strike within 2 m. They have a range of 70 km and carry a 90 kg high explosive unitary warhead.


The range and accuracy of HIMARS and MLRS are critical to understanding their ability to shape the totality of the battlefield in Ukraine. The 70 km range of the rockets effectively places them beyond the reach of frontline Russian tube artillery systems and enables them to move on roads parallel to the frontline in response to identified targets. It also means that they are able to engage targets such as logistics and ammo dumps in Russia’s operational depth which are beyond the reach of Ukraine’s own conventional tube artillery.

Accuracy is important for two reasons. The first is that it reduces the number of rockets needed to achieve effects on targets, which is a critical consideration given that Ukraine and the West are facing constraints in their ability to meet the AFU’s demand for ammunition. The second is that it means vehicles can quickly relocate after firing and avoid counter-battery fire or attempts to locate them, which improves survivability — as evidenced by Russia’s difficulties in locating and destroying them.

However, this is likely due in part to Russia’s intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) gap. A Russian commander has complained that the RuAF has limited abilities to locate and engage targets beyond the immediate frontline, which allows the MLRS and HIMARS launchers to operate with relative impunity. Furthermore, the Russian air force faces difficulties in operating in Ukraine’s operational depth — where the launchers are present — because it has found suppression of Ukraine’s air defences difficult. In short, the range of MLRS and HIMARS, combined with Russia’s inability to generate targeting information or fly sorties at appropriate altitudes in the areas where the launchers operate, has conferred survivability upon them and enabled them to continue impacting the Russian forces.

The range of the M30A1 missile would account for little without the software and ISR that are used to provide targeting data. From the available information, the AFU uses a variety of reconnaissance tools to locate and identify suitable Russian targets. An innovative method is the use of mobile phone software that enables Ukrainian citizens to report the location of Russian troops using an app. This information is often shared with artillery systems or through the chain of command using applications like Google Meets. It is then shared with a US base in Europe, where operators provide precise targeting data from satellites and other assets, as well as target mensuration, which is necessary for the launchers to conduct an engagement and to shorten the targeting chain. This is fed into the missiles and then they are launched — the whole process takes only a few seconds. The speed of targeting decisions, and in some cases the target location, is reliant upon the use of software, which provides rapid communication and data sharing between Ukrainian operators and US analysts.


  1. Gavin Longmuir says:

    England’s RUSI states: “It is then shared with a US base in Europe, where operators provide precise targeting data from satellites and other assets …

    Seems like Perfidious Albion’s Royal United Services Institute has dropped the US in deep doo-doo. The English are saying the US is an active belligerent in a war against a nuclear power. The battlefield that is getting “shaped” may suddenly get a whole lot larger. Sounds like Washington DC is now a valid military target. Thanks, RUSI.

  2. McChuck says:

    Can anybody tell me why the USA is militarily aiding a nation that embarked on a ten year plus official program of genocide and ethnic cleansing against a minority population? I mean, I know why Biden and the other Democrats need their money laundering off-shore accounts. But why should our nation help the genocidal tyrants who spent eight years indiscriminately shelling towns and villages, killing over 40,000 civilians for the “crime” of being an ethnic minority? And that was after they made use of their language illegal and literally burned their books.

  3. Aisurgen says:

    I’m very impressed by the amazing level of insanity in the comments on the topic of Russo-Ukrainian war. Some guys, who look almost normal in other discussions just spontaneously descending to the level of monkeys throwing their feces at the screen..

  4. Pseudo-Chrysostom says:

    “Can anybody tell me why the USA is militarily aiding a nation that embarked on a ten year plus official program of genocide and ethnic cleansing against a minority population?”

    Because you need to fight and die for the right to force feminism and gay pride parades on random populations of aliens on the other side of the world. And any power that gets in the way of that (be it Russia, or native amerikaners), needs to be destroyed.

    The atlantic empire is carthage and the ruling priesthood is always on crusade to impose its nihilistic demon faith everywhere.

    That is the short of it.

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