Pentagon will arm Estonia with a modern M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) amid the Russian invasion in Ukraine.
The U.S. State Department has cleared the sale of 6 M142 HIMARS to Estonia worth nearly $500 million, according to the Pentagon’s top arms broker.
Last week, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency announced the sale of the rocket-launcher systems, M30A2 Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (GMLRS), M31A2 GMLRS Unitary High Explosive (HE) Missile Pods, M403 Extended Range GMLRS (ER GMLRS) Alternative Warhead (AW) Missile Pods, XM404 Extended Range GMLRS (ER GMLRS) Unitary Pods and up to 18 M57 Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) Missile Pods to the Estonian military.
Estonia owning American mobile multiple launch rocket systems (MLRS) HIMARS would force Russia to considerably reassess and rework its attack plans and make it much costlier to attack Estonia and the other Baltic countries, Secretary General of the Ministry of Defense Kusti Salm said.
“Firstly, it will allow us to affect the enemy in their own territory. This means [their] supply routes, command centers and everything else would be within our range – 70-80 kilometers using conventional missiles and 300 kilometers using ATACMS,” SALM told ERR’s Madis Hindre in an interview.
He pointed to Russian military bases close to the Baltic borders and a considerable part of their supply routes relying on the railroad.
“In other words, we will force our enemy to hike the price of aggression. If they know we can destroy certain kinds of targets, they will have to start looking for alternative solutions. However, those are notably more expensive. Attacking Estonia, Baltic countries and NATO will become a lot more complicated and expensive for the enemy,” Salm suggested.
The other aspect of adopting the M142 HIMARS is organizing the defense of the Baltics more broadly.
A HIMARS is a truck that is armed with several rockets that can hit targets more than 150 miles away. The HIMARS can be transported in a medium cargo plane, such as the C-130 Hercules transport aircraft.
The M142 uses the same controls, communications and crew as the old M270 launcher, while speeding preparation time to an impressive 15 minutes for mission-readiness from the moment it lands.