M777 and HIMARS: The modern kings of battle fighting in Ukraine
The ongoing conflict in Ukraine has been a brutal and bloody affair, combining the trench warfare tactics of the past with the technological advancements of the present. The frontlines around Bakhmut, in particular, have become a critical battleground that requires careful consideration from military strategists, as images from the press and social media demonstrate.
One of the key features of the conflict has been the relative absence of Russian air power. Instead, the Russian forces have had to rely heavily on their massed artillery to achieve their objectives. At the start of the war, both sides had access to ex-Soviet artillery. However, the balance of power has shifted since then, with Ukraine receiving billions of dollars worth of munitions from NATO and other nations.
Of these, the M777 Howitzer and HIMARS have been among the most game-changing pieces of artillery equipment. These systems have provided the Ukrainian military with two critical advantages over their Russian counterparts: pinpoint accuracy and mobility.
The M777 Howitzer, for example, is a lightweight 155mm howitzer that is highly mobile and can be easily transported by helicopter. This makes it ideal for use in mountainous terrain, such as that found around Bakhmut. Its advanced targeting system allows it to hit targets with great precision, even at long range. This is crucial in a conflict where civilian casualties are a major concern.
The HIMARS (High Mobility Artillery Rocket System), on the other hand, is a truck-mounted rocket launcher that can fire a range of different munitions, including GPS-guided missiles. Its mobility and flexibility make it a highly effective weapon in a fast-moving conflict like the one in Ukraine. It can be quickly repositioned to respond to changing circumstances on the battlefield, and its precision-guided missiles can strike targets with incredible accuracy.
Perhaps even more important than the weapons themselves, however, is the specialized ammunition that accompanies them. The M982 Excalibur round, for example, is a highly accurate GPS-guided artillery shell that can hit targets up to 40 kilometers away with pinpoint precision. The XM1156 Precision Guidance Kit (PGK) is another example of advanced ammunition that has given the Ukrainian military a significant advantage. This system can be fitted to conventional artillery shells, allowing them to be guided to their targets with extreme accuracy.