Open in new window
- Prelims – Science and Technology
- Mains – GS 2 (Effect of Policies and Politics of Developed and Developing Countries on India’s interests, Indian Diaspora)
In News: The US is sending four HIMAR systems to Ukraine
What are ‘artillery rockets’?
- An artillery rocket is a weapon that is typically propelled by a solid-fuel motor and can carry a variety of warheads.
- In the 1970s, USA developed a new weapon called MLRS, for Multiple Launch Rocket System, designed for use in the event that Russian armored vehicles massed for World War III on the border of Western Europe.
- Pentagon developed the more advanced version of MLRS, a more easily transportable version called HIMARS, for High Mobility Artillery Rocket System, which is based on a wheeled truck that is much lighter.
- Unlike its predecessor, the M142 HIMARS truck carries only one pod of munitions, but it can move much faster on and off-road, and can be shipped on a C-130 cargo plane.
- US is sending four HIMAR systems to Ukraine.
What’s the difference between a rocket and a missile in this context?
- Generally the word “rocket” is used in a military context to refer to relatively inexpensive unguided weapons powered by solid-fuel motors, while “missile” is generally shorthand for “guided missiles,” more expensive and complicated weapons that use movable fins to steer themselves to their targets and can fly much farther.
- The Pentagon has already sent short-range, inexpensive and unguided anti-tank weapons that are classified as rockets to Ukraine, like the AT-4, and the longer-range Javelin, which is a guided missile.
- But in more recent years the military has built weapons it calls “guided rockets” — like GMLRS — which are often older rocket designs upgraded to have guidance systems and movable fins on their nose to steer them.
How powerful are these rockets?
- Using the HIMARS and GMLRS together can offer an amount of firepower that is similar to an airstrike — all from a mobile platform.
- The upgrade in explosive power for the Ukrainian military will be profound.
Does Russia have anything similar?
- The Russian military has primarily used three types of unguided artillery rockets during the war in Ukraine.
- The largest, the 300 mm Smerch, can fire a guided rocket, which makes it more accurate, and has a range similar to the GMLRS
Do the U.S. rockets have other advantages?
- There’s one major advantage to the MLRS and HIMARS launchers: They can be fully reloaded within minutes.
- Both vehicles have a winch that allows them to lower an empty pod to the ground, pick up a new, loaded pod, and pull it into place. The Russian launchers must be manually loaded, tube by tube.
Previous Year Questions (PYQs)
Q.1) With reference to Agni-IV Missile, which of the following statement(s) is/are correct? (2014)
- It is surface-to-surface missile.
- It is fuelled by liquid propellant only.
- It can deliver one tonne nuclear warhead about 7500 km away.
Select the correct answer using the codes given below.
- 1 only
- 2 and 3 only
- 1 and 3 only
- 1, 2 and 3
Source: Indian Express