Ukrainian Soldiers have begun training on the first U.S.-made rocket artillery systems at an undisclosed location outside of the country, according to a senior U.S. defense official.
Citing a senior defense official, ABC reporter Matt Seyler reported that Ukrainian forces have begun training on the HIMARS being sent by the U.S.
“U.S. trainers are working with the Ukrainians at an undisclosed location outside of the country. The first round of training is expected to take about 3 weeks,” Seyler said on Twitter.
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As part of the latest presidential drawdown package for Ukraine — this one worth $700 million dollars — the Defense Department has included four M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, or HIMARS.
The HIMARS were pre-positioned in Europe to get them to Ukraine quickly and begin training ASAP, according to Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Colin Kahl.
The M142 HIMARS system allows for the launching of multiple, precision-guided rockets. Along with the HIMARS system, the department is also including the Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System to be used with HIMARS. Those rockets are capable of hitting a target more than 40 miles away.
“What the HIMARS will allow them to do is to get greater standoff. Right now, the howitzers we provided them have about a 30 km range; the HIMARS have more than twice that, which will allow them — even with fewer systems — greater standoff,” said Colin H. Kahl, undersecretary of defense for policy, during a briefing today at the Pentagon.
The HIMARS system also provides increased precision, Kahl said.
“These are precision guided systems with extended range,” he said. “For high value targets, that, that allows them to keep some of the pressure off of Ukrainian forces on the front, [which] we think these systems will be very useful.”
To ensure the most rapid delivery of HIMARS systems to Ukraine, Kahl said DOD pre-positioned systems inside Europe in anticipation of the president’s decision to approve their transfer to Ukraine.