The Lockheed Martin-produced High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) has been named the “Coolest Thing Made in Arkansas.” Incidentally, the contest results were announced just days after Ukraine received additional HIMAR systems to deploy against Russia.
The contest for the “Coolest Thing Made in Arkansas” championship organized by the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce, Associated Industries of Arkansas, and Arkansas Business began earlier this year. The Arkansas State Chamber is the leading voice for business at the US State Capitol.
The contest featured 16 products over different categories of goods produced by various industries. The voting was opened on June 27, 2022, and after due counting, the Arkansas Industry bodies announced the result on October 7, 2022.
In a press release, the championship organizers stated that HIMARS is a highly reliable, fielded, and combat-proven system surpassing all performance standards.
Several of Lockheed Martin’s Integrated Air and Missile Defense and Precision Fires products are manufactured at the company’s award-winning Camden, Arkansas facility.
HIMARS is combat-proven and ready for any mission at a moment’s notice. Made possible by our team in Camden, Arkansas, this launcher is a critical capability supporting our customers.
— Lockheed Martin (@LockheedMartin) October 7, 2022
The HIMARS has garnered considerable attention as one of the most potent weapons supplied by the United States to Ukraine in the ongoing conflict due to its ability to launch lethal precision fires against Russian strongholds, including command centers and supply depots.
Additionally, the timing of HIMARS being named the “Coolest Thing Made in Arkansas” is significant. The US has recently committed another four advanced rocket systems from its inventory to Ukraine in a $625 million arms package, bringing the number of HIMARS it has so far transferred to Kyiv from its arsenal to 20.
However, the highlight of the latest HIMARS supplied to Ukraine is that the latest tranche is a more advanced version of the system used by Ukraine until now. Ukrainian forces have received a new type of HIMARS rocket which can decimate large target areas with one single strike, according to Express.
Ukraine has received a new type of missile for #HIMARS: M30A1 guided missiles designed for manpower congestion.
These missiles explode while still in the air, providing a large area of destruction (the principle of operation is clearly visible on the video). pic.twitter.com/CGymXAJ4AX
— M|§F|T ???? (@am_misfit) September 30, 2022
According to the reports, the M30A1 missiles can destroy a half-mile square of territory with a single strike. Before this new delivery, Ukrainian forces were employing M31 Unitary Warhead precision rockets, which produce characteristic diamond-shaped shrapnel and contain 90 kilograms of explosive charge.
The M31 is more suited for hitting smaller targets like specific buildings.
In contrast, the new and more advanced HIMARS missiles can be programmed by the Ukrainian military to explode above massive army formations, damage trench systems, and open up new routes for Ukrainians to advance.
How Did HIMARS Become The Coolest?
Since the Ukrainian troops, initially decimated by the Russian advance, received the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System, the face of the war has changed in Kyiv’s favor.
This summer, Ukraine’s HIMARS assisted its troops in halting a brutal Russian advance by being able to strike Russian military sites, ammunition stores, and infrastructure far behind the front lines. Since last month, Ukrainian forces have reclaimed large areas of land in their nation’s east and attacked Russian troops in the south.
HIMARS is a striking weapon in Ukraine’s arsenal that combines range, accuracy, and mobility. It can do tasks typically requiring dozens of launchers firing tens of thousands of shells.
Hundreds of Russian targets, including command centers, ammo dumps, refueling stations, and bridges, have been struck by Ukraine’s 50-mile-range HIMARS rockets, cutting off supply to front-line soldiers.
According to Wall Street Journal, they are now focusing on Russian forces retiring after pausing their spring assault across eastern Donbas in Ukraine.
The system fires its armament and leaves the location quickly, even before hostile forces can pinpoint the launch site. The self-loading and autonomous capabilities of the MLRS are integrated into the system.
The three-person crew in charge of the high-mobility artillery rocket system consists of the driver, gunner, and section head. However, the computer-based fire control system can be loaded and unloaded by a crew of two or a lone soldier, making it extremely easy to operate and highly mobile.
The fire control system includes a video camera, keyboard controls, one gigabyte of software storage, and a GPS. The fire control computer enables manual or automatic firing missions.
HIMARS is designed to launch the full MLRS family of munitions, including the extended-range rocket, the reduced-range practice rocket, and all future derivatives, in addition to the conventional MLRS round.
The range of the HIMARS is by far its most significant advantage over other kinds of artillery. The Ukrainian Army can now use the HIMARS remotely due to this. Additionally, it aids Ukraine in defending the system against Russian counterattacks.
Additionally, the HIMARS used by Ukraine has an 80-kilometer range that works to its advantage while selecting targets. Ukrainian forces deliberately and tactically attacked Russian command posts, arsenal storage facilities, and supply routes to halt and restrain Russia’s campaign in eastern Ukraine.
The impressive combat success of this system in Ukraine has been watched in other countries with interest. Australia, for one, is looking to start manufacturing the system in the country. Earlier, the US had announced in May 2022 that it had granted Australia’s request to buy 20 M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) for about US$385 million.
The Ukrainian conflict has been a test-bed for many state-of-the-art weapon systems, and while the HIMARS are already combat-proven, their new success has catapulted them to cult status.