Himars: what is the advanced M142 missile system Joe Biden says US is sending Ukraine - how does rocket work?

In an Op-ed  in the New York Times, Biden said sending missiles to Ukraine was ‘the right thing to do’

The United States have announced they will be sending a Himars missile system to Ukraine.

President Joe Biden and White House officials shared the news on Tuesday (31 May) and explained it was part of a new $700 million military package to help Ukraine defend itself from Russia.

President Biden shared the news in an Op-Ed for the New York Times, in which he stated that the weapons would help Ukraine: “fight on the battlefield and be in the strongest possible position at the negotiating table.”

The new weapons the US will send to Ukraine is a M142 Himars multiple launch rocket system.

The Himars will only be able to operate within a 48-mile radius, meaning that that will not be able to be used to attack Russia directly.

Here’s everything you need to know about what Himars are and what Joe Biden has said about sending weapons to Ukraine.

What are Himars?

The M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System, also known as Himars, are an advanced artillery rocket system that have a range of about 50 miles.

President Biden has announced the US will send Himars to Ukraine (Pic: AFP via Getty Images)

The missiles were developed in the 1970s for use by America and its allied forces.

They carry six guided missiles at a time and can be manned by a small crew, making them easy to operate in war time scenarios.

The US currently has Himars in Europe, with Poland and Romania also having the missile system at their disposal.

Why is the US sending Ukraine missiles?

President Biden explained that the US were sending the Himars to Ukraine so they could: “fight on the battlefield and be in the strongest possible position at the negotiating table.”

The US administration has already sent Ukraine $5 billion worth of anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles and military equipment to help in the war effort against Russia’s invasion.

This new package will send $700 million worth of military equipment to Ukraine and as well as the Himars it will include ammunition, counterfire radars, air surveillance radars, anti-tank weapons and anti-armour weapons.

Biden explained in his article that the war in Ukraine will end through diplomacy, stating:

"That’s why I’ve decided that we will provide the Ukrainians with more advanced rocket systems and munitions that will enable them to more precisely strike key targets on the battlefield in Ukraine."

What has Joe Biden said?

Biden has had a lot to say in his Op-Ed for the New York Times.

In the article he reassured President Putin that the missiles will not be able to reach Russia and that he does not want to start a wider conflict.

On Monday (30 May) the president reassured reporters that: “we’re not going to send to Ukraine rocket systems that can strike into Russia.”

The Himars will only be able to operate within a radius of 48-miles to prevent them from being used outside of Ukraine.

President Biden made it clear that the US would continue to support Ukraine, writing:

“Standing by Ukraine in its hour of need is not just the right thing to do it is in our vital national interests to ensure a peaceful and stable Europe and to make it clear that might does not make right.”

What has Russia said about the Himars?

There has been criticism from Russia over the US supplying Ukraine weapons.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told news agency RIA Novosti that it views US military aid to Ukraine “extremely negatively.”

They went on to warn that the move increased the risk of direct confrontation.