The U.S. secretly modified the advanced Himars rocket launchers it gave Ukraine so they can’t be used to fire long-range missiles into Russia, U.S. officials said, a precaution the Biden administration says is necessary to reduce the risk of a wider war with Moscow.
The U.S. since June has supplied Ukrainian forces with 20 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System launchers, or Himars, and a large inventory of satellite-guided rockets with a range of almost 50 miles. Those rockets, known as the Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System, or GMLRS, have been used to strike Russian ammunition depots, logistics supplies and command centers on Ukrainian territory.
But the Himars launchers have a unique feature intended to prevent them from becoming even more potent battlefield systems. U.S. officials say the Pentagon has modified the launchers so they can’t fire long-range missiles, including the U.S.’s Army Tactical Missile System rockets, or ATACMS, which have a range of nearly 200 miles. [Continue reading…]