ATACMS supply to Ukraine enhances Neptune's potential for strikes on Crimean Bridge
What to expect if the White House announces the supply of crucial ATACMS missiles to Ukraine?
Defense Express explains the impact of the ATACMS supply to Ukraine.
Western media increasingly hints at an imminent White House decision to provide Ukraine with ATACMS tactical ballistic missiles. These missiles are highly coveted by Ukraine and hold promise in disrupting the Russian army's logistics in occupied areas.
However, the actual impact of this potential supply of ATACMS missiles to Ukraine could yield even more unexpected positive outcomes. For instance, it may enable Ukraine to release a portion of modernized Neptune missiles, potentially targeting military sites in Russia or the Crimean Bridge, as suggested by the Long War Journal.
Assessing ATACMS effectiveness and implications
The effectiveness of ATACMS on the battlefield will hinge on the specific missile modification provided by the United States. If Ukraine receives M57 missiles with a 227 kg unitary warhead and a range of up to 300 km, they could be used to strike Russian logistics.
ATACMS appears to offer enhanced survivability compared to other ballistic missiles due to its compatibility with existing M142 HIMARS and M270 mobile launchers in the Ukrainian Armed Forces.
Alternatively, if Ukraine is supplied with the M39 version of ATACMS with a cluster warhead, these missiles could potentially target Russian air defense systems. This functionality aligns with historical uses of ATACMS by the US Army in past operations.
Regardless of the ATACMS modification, the United States must first reconfigure the software on the M142 HIMARS and M270 launchers to enable the missile launches. This software adjustment allegedly occurred before the previous transfer to the Ukrainian Armed Forces last summer, according to Defense Express.
As the Long War Journal suggests, once the Ukrainian Armed Forces can fully utilize ATACMS, it may lead to a rearrangement of the missile arsenal. This could potentially free up modernized Neptune missiles for ground target strikes, including the strategically significant Crimean Bridge, impacting the Russian army's logistics.