Lockheed Martin will produce additional High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) in a new $2bn contract modification according to a US Department of Defense update on 3 June 2024.

Following on from its replacement of the damaged and destroyed systems in Ukraine, the US may look to increase the number of these highly effective multiple-launch rocket systems (MLRS).

Carrying three crew and offering considerable firepower on a wheeled chassis, Lockheed Martin developed HIMARS in 1996; they were first used during the Iraq war.

The system is designed to engage and defeat artillery, air defence concentrations, trucks, light armour and personnel carriers as well as support troop and supply concentrations. The system launches its weapons and moves away from the area at high speed before enemy forces locate the launch site.

The vehicle weighs approximately 24,000lb (10,886kg) compared to more than 44,000lb for the MLRS M270 launcher. HIMARS are capable of firing the long-range army tactical missile system.

Before Washington renewed its critical flow of security aid under a $60bn support package at the start of the year, Ukraine had been struggling with a lack of equipment to counter Russian drones. A number of new systems will therefore prove highly effective against Russia’s hybrid threats.

In addition, the new contract modification was announced several days after the US defence prime, alongside Aerostar, had opened the first European-based HIMARS sustainment centre in Romania. Although the facility will primarily support Romania’s land forces it will also prove beneficial for Ukraine and the rest of Europe.