US Air Force photo by Senior Airman Beaux Hebert
- The US State Department has approved the sale of HIMARS launchers, missiles, and rockets to Poland.
- Poland would be the latest country bordering Russia to secure these deadly weapons from the US.
- Ukrainian forces have used the HIMARS to devastate Russian positions on the battlefield.
The US State Department has signed off on a request by Poland to buy an advanced rocket system, as well as longer-range missiles and rockets for it. The country is among several other US allies bordering Russia that have sought to obtain this capability.
Poland requested to buy 18 M142 US-made High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) launchers and related equipment in a expected $10 billion sale, according to a notice this week from the Defense Security Cooperation Agency. The HIMARS has proven to be a highly effective weapon for Ukraine, which has used the system to devastate Russian forces on the battlefield.
The sale will also include 468 HIMARS launcher loader module kits, 45 M57 Army Tactical Missile Systems (ATACMS) — longer-range missiles for the HIMARS that Ukraine has long requested — and over 1,500 different variants of guided multiple launch rockets (GMLRS) and warheads. ATACMS are surface-to-surface missiles that have a range of 190 miles, while the XM403 GMLRS, one of the variants included, are extended-range munitions.
Additionally, the sale is expected to consist of practice rockets, communications and support equipment, systems integration assistance, and personnel training.
“This proposed sale will support the foreign policy goals and national security objectives of the United States by improving the security of a NATO Ally that is a force for political stability and economic progress in Europe,” the DSCA notice states. “The proposed sale will improve Poland’s military goals of updating capability while further enhancing interoperability with the United States and other allies.”
US Army soldiers fire their High Mobility Artillery Rocket System during an exercise near Camp Buehring in Kuwait on January 8, 2019.
US Army/Sgt. Bill Boecker
Poland will be able to use this advanced weaponry to modernize its forces, beef up its homeland defense, and deter regional threats, said the Defense Security Cooperation Agency. It added that the country will not have any trouble absorbing these systems into its forces and that the sale — which still needs Congressional approval — won’t change the regional military balance.
With this sale, Poland would become the latest eastern European country that borders Russia to secure the much-celebrated HIMARS. The State Department last year approved a sale of HIMARS to Estonia, which borders mainland Russia. Lithuania — which, along with Poland, borders the tiny militarized Russian exclave of Kaliningrad — also secured a deal with the US government. And Latvia, which is also a Russian neighbor, has previously requested to buy the weapon. Lithuania and Estonia both requested the ATACMS and extended range GMLRS as well.
Ukrainian forces have found success with the HIMARS on the battlefield since they arrived in the early summer of 2022, using its GPS-guided rockets to target Russian sites like ammunition depots, command posts, and bridges. The weapons were also critical in helping Ukraine recapture territory around the southern Kherson region.
The UK-based Royal United Services Institute wrote in an assessment last year that the HIMARS — and US-made M270 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems — signaled the moment where Russia’s offensive in eastern Ukraine ended and the war transitioned into a new phase.
Earlier this year, Ukrainian forces used the HIMARS to carry out a deadly strike on Russian positions in the eastern occupied city of Makiivka. Scores of Russian troops were killed in the incident, which sparked sweeping anger and criticism of Moscow’s military leadership.