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When the USA Provides ATACMS to Ukraine, the Neptune Missile System Will Be Quite Suitable for Strikes on the Crimean Bridge

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Launch of the MGM-140 ATACMS tactical missile from the M270 system / Open source illustrative photo
Launch of the MGM-140 ATACMS tactical missile from the M270 system / Open source illustrative photo

ATACMS would provide Ukraine with valuable additional capability to attack high-value russian military targets

In Western media, there are increasing signals that the White House is indeed close to the decision to transfer the operational-tactical ATACMS missiles to Ukraine. It remains the most desired weaponry for Ukraine, which could be provided by the Western allies. Significant hopes are placed on ATACMS operational-tactical missile system for the destruction of the logistics system of the russian army in temporarily occupied territories.

However, the actual effects of a potential transfer of ATACMS missiles to the Ukrainian Armed Forces may turn out to be even more unexpected. "ATACMS would offer much-needed additional capacity... This could free up Neptune missiles ... then use the latter to strike the Crimean Bridge...russia uses that bridge to transport equipment and supplies to southern Ukraine, where Kyiv’s forces are attempting to claw back territory as part of their ongoing counteroffensive. Kyiv hopes that degrading russian logistics will help Ukrainian troops break through russian defenses and then push south toward the coast," the Long War Journal reports.

Read more: What are the Missiles With Cluster Warheads the US Can Send to Ukraine
Launch of the anti-ship version of the R-360 Neptune missile, Defense Express
Launch of the anti-ship version of the R-360 Neptune missile / Open source illustrative photo

As the portal's authors noted, the actual effect of using ATACMS on the battlefield will directly depend on which specific modification of this missile the USA allocates for Ukraine.

These could be M57 modification missiles with a unitary warhead weighing 227 kg and a firing range of up to 300 km. Or ATACMS in the M39 version with a cassette-type warhead. The firing range of this missile is up to 165 km. Such missiles would be capable of carrying out tasks related to the destruction of russian air defense systems. The U.S. military employed these missiles to great effect against Iraqi air defense systems during Operation Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom.

The infographics show the entire arsenal of the M270A1 and M142 HIMARS multiple rocket launchers
The infographics show the entire arsenal of the M270A1 and M142 HIMARS multiple rocket launchers / Open source image

Also, ATACMS missiles can be launched by the M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) and M270 Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS), both of which Ukraine already operates.

"These vehicles can quickly displace after firing. To date, russia has not managed to destroy a single M142 or M270. ATACMS missiles themselves are also difficult to shoot down, thanks to their rapid descent," the Long War Journal reports.

In addition, the authors of the portal note that "the United States will also have to reverse earlier hardware and software modifications it made to Kyiv’s M142 launchers to prevent them from firing ATACMS. Ukraine’s M270 launchers may also require software upgrades if they will be used with ATACMS".

Launch of the MGM-140 ATACMS tactical missile from the M270 system
Launch of the MGM-140 ATACMS tactical missile from the M270 system / Open source illustrative photo

As Defense Express reported, US Came As Close As Possible to the Transfer of ATACMS to Ukraine – Number of Insides From Washington was Increasing. We also wrote, that, according to Ukrainian Air Force Spokesman For Ukraine ATACMS was an Air Defense Weapon.

Read more: ​What Modifications of ATACMS Missile the USA Has Now, and Which of Them Is the Most Formidable to the Likes of russian army