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WP: Ukraine creating domestic HIMARS alternative, long-range missiles

Ukraine is set to start production of NATO-standard 155mm shells this year as well.
ATACMS. Credit: Dean Johnson
WP: Ukraine creating domestic HIMARS alternative, long-range missiles

According to Ukrainian officials cited by The Washington Post, Ukraine has started developing its own version of the American High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS), which has been a game-changer in the ongoing conflict with Russia.

Ukrainian engineers aim to create their own equivalent to enhance the country’s long-range strike capabilities and reduce reliance on foreign-supplied weapons.

Ukraine’s minister of strategic industries, Oleksandr Kamyshin, mentioned last month that Ukraine had deployed a locally made missile with a range of over 640 km (400 miles), without providing further details. Other officials told the Washington Post that air defense systems and high-precision missiles similar to HIMARS are also being developed.

However, manufacturing the high-tech systems Ukraine needs to counter Russian invaders will take a long time. Maksym Polyvianyi, the executive director of the National Association of Ukrainian Defense Industries, stated that it would take decades to master and build such production.

Despite this, Ukrainian factories are producing shells, mortar rounds, military vehicles, missiles, and other crucial items for the war effort. Production tripled in 2023 and is expected to increase sixfold this year, according to Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal. For some essential items like drones, Ukraine is already producing 90 percent of what it needs, as per Mykhailo Fedorov, the digital transformation minister.

Ukrainian defense companies are also working on producing their own NATO-standard 155mm shells, which are in short supply on the front. However, an official at Ukroboronprom, the state-owned defense company, said production would not begin until the second half of this year.

Recently, Ukraine’s troops have lost ground in the east due to dwindling supplies of shells and bullets. US intelligence predicts that Ukraine may run out of air defense missiles by the end of the month. The White House is working to secure $60 billion in aid through Congress, while the European Union has approved a $5 billion military package, and the Biden administration has announced $300 million in aid. A Czech initiative also hopes to start sending about 800,000 shells in the coming weeks, but this still falls short of the country’s needs.

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