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West aims to deliver up to 30 precision rocket launch systems to Ukraine, says US congressman

U.S. Rep. Adam Smith of Washington, Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, questions then-Deputy Secretary of Defense Ashton B. Carter Aug. 1, 2012, in Washington, D.C. (Glenn Fawcett/Department of Defense)

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

The United States and its Western allies could potentially deliver up to 30 multiple-launch rocket systems to Ukraine that have been highly effective so far in destroying Russian arms depots, a senior U.S. congressman said.

Rep. Adam Smith (Democrat-Washington), the chair of the House Armed Services Committee, told RFE/RL that the current goal is to increase the number of rocket systems deployed to Ukraine to 25-30.

Smith made the comments during a visit to Kyiv to meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy. Smith is one of several members of Congress who met with the Ukrainian leader on July 23.

Ukraine has requested at least 50 of the high-precision rocket systems, including both the M270 Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) and the M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, or HIMARS.

The systems can fire rockets far behind enemy lines with the precision of a few meters, making them highly effective.

The M270 is mounted on a tracked chassis and can fire up to 12 rockets at a time. The HIMARS are mounted on a truck for greater mobility but can only fire six at a time.

The United States has already delivered a dozen HIMARS to Ukraine and recently approved the delivery of four more.

Western allies have delivered a few M270s to Ukraine.

Smith did not give a time frame for the delivery of the remaining systems.