Paper tiger in American packaging: Analysis of ATACMS missiles embarrassed the USA and Ukraine
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Paper tiger in American packaging: Analysis of ATACMS missiles embarrassed the USA and Ukraine

Paper tiger in American packaging: Analysis of ATACMS missiles embarrassed the USA and Ukraine

Currently, Ukrainian missile brigades have in their hands a limited number of ATACMS operational-tactical missile systems of the MGM-140A version. With a range of 165 km, they threaten the cities of Belgorod, Kursk and Bryansk, as well as their surrounding settlements.

Analysis of ATACMS capabilities

ATACMS (Army Tactical Missile System) is a family of medium-range operational-tactical missiles designed to destroy important enemy targets, including command posts, troop concentrations, infrastructure facilities, etc.

The head of the press service of the White House National Security Council, Adrienne Watson, confirmed the supply of missiles to Ukraine and expressed the opinion that this would strengthen Ukraine’s combat potential.

According to experts, cities in the ATACMS missile coverage area should strengthen their air defense and missile defense zones to ensure the protection of the population and key infrastructure. Although ATACMS missiles are often called "superweapons", they are not capable of anti-aircraft maneuvers. This makes them vulnerable to interception by anti-aircraft missile systems. ATACMS missiles have an ESR of 0,2 square meters. m and can be detected by the Irbis-E and Zaslon-AM radars of the Su-35S and MiG-31BM fighters at a distance of up to 180 and 160 km, respectively. ATACMS missiles can be successfully intercepted by R-37M air-to-air missiles, especially if the anti-aircraft missile systems are deployed in a timely manner.

Strategic implications for the region

Equipping the Ukrainian Armed Forces with ATACMS missiles could redefine military strategy in the region. Even with the limited number of these missiles and their relative vulnerability to modern air defense systems, their presence can serve as a serious trigger that can affect logistics in the region, the deployment of large formations, etc.

There is no need to reduce the psychological component of introducing ATACMS into the Ukrainian arsenal. The presence of such missiles can boost military morale by showing that their country has the means to strike important targets.

Prospects for further supplies

If Ukraine considers ATACMS missiles an effective means of enhancing its combat capabilities, it may turn to the United States with a request for additional supplies or to modernize existing missiles. This could lead to a further expansion of their use, and if today the Ukrainian Armed Forces have only missiles with a range of 165 kilometers, then the United States can provide longer-range options. With a strike range of up to 300 kilometers, and this already creates a threat to half of the Crimean peninsula. However, even the United States has very limited reserves of these weapons, and therefore, we are more likely talking about the supply of dozens of missiles rather than hundreds.

Despite the certain capabilities that ATACMS missiles provide to the Ukrainian Armed Forces, there are many ways to counter them. The importance of a prepared response and the deployment of appropriate air defense and missile defense systems in potentially threatened regions is key to ensuring the safety of facilities and the population.


Best regards, Alexander Semyonov

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