Fiery US Weapon Voted ‘Coolest Thing Made in Arkansas’, Here’s What Gives It ‘Cult Status’

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The High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) produced by Lockheed Martin has been named “the coolest thing made in Arkansas”. Incidentally, the competition results were announced just days after Ukraine received additional HIMAR systems to deploy against Russia.

Ukraine gets MARS over HIMARS; Kyiv campaign backed by German MLRS as Russia ‘breathes hard’

The competition for the “Coolest Thing Made in Arkansas” championship hosted by the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce, Associated Industries of Arkansas and Arkansas Business kicked off earlier this year. The Arkansas State Chamber is the primary voice of business in the US State Capitol.

The contest featured 16 products across different categories of goods produced by various industries. Voting opened on June 27, 2022, and after the count, Arkansas industry bodies announced the result on October 7, 2022.

In a press release, championship organizers said HIMARS is a highly reliable, field-proven, combat-proven system that exceeds all performance standards.

Many of Lockheed Martin’s integrated air and missile defense and sniper products are manufactured at the company’s award-winning facility in Camden, Arkansas.

The HIMARS has attracted considerable attention as one of the most powerful weapons supplied by the United States to Ukraine in the ongoing conflict due to its ability to deliver deadly precision fire against Russian strongholds, including command centers and supply depots.

Plus, the moment HIMARS was named “the coolest thing made in Arkansas” is significant. The United States recently committed four more advanced rocket systems from its inventory in Ukraine to a $625 million weapons package, bringing to 20 the number of HIMARS it has so far transferred to Kyiv from its arsenal.

However, the highlight of the latest HIMARS delivered to Ukraine is that the latest installment is a more advanced version of the system used by Ukraine so far. Ukrainian forces have received a new type of HIMARS rocket that can decimate large target areas with a single strike, according to Express.

According to reports, M30A1 missiles can destroy half a square mile of territory in a single strike. Prior to this new delivery, Ukrainian forces used M31 Unitary Warhead precision rockets, which produce characteristic diamond-shaped shrapnel and contain 90 kilograms of explosive charge.

The M31 is best suited for hitting smaller targets like specific buildings.

In contrast, the new, more advanced HIMARS missiles can be programmed by the Ukrainian military to explode above massive military formations, damaging trench systems and opening up new avenues for Ukrainians to advance.

How did HIMARS become the coolest?

Since Ukrainian troops, initially decimated by the Russian advance, were given the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System, the face of war has changed in favor of Kyiv.

This summer, Ukraine’s HIMARS helped its troops halt a brutal Russian advance by being able to strike Russian military sites, ammunition stores and infrastructure far behind the front lines. Since last month, Ukrainian forces have reclaimed large swaths of land in the east of their country and attacked Russian troops in the south.

HIMARS is a striking weapon in the Ukrainian arsenal that combines range, accuracy and mobility. It can perform tasks that typically require dozens of launchers firing tens of thousands of shells.

File Image: HIMARS

Hundreds of Russian targets, including command centers, ammunition dumps, refueling stations and bridges, were hit by Ukrainian HIMARS rockets from a range of 50 miles, cutting off supplies to soldiers first line.

According to the Wall Street Journal, they are now focusing on withdrawing Russian forces after halting their spring assault in Ukraine’s eastern Donbass.

The system fires its armament and leaves the location quickly, even before hostile forces can locate the launch site. The self-charging and autonomy capabilities of the MLRS are built into the system.

The three-person crew in charge of the high-mobility artillery rocket system consists of the driver, gunner and section leader. However, the computerized fire control system can be loaded and unloaded by a crew of two or a single soldier, making it extremely easy to use and highly mobile.

The fire control system includes a video camera, keyboard controls, one gigabyte of software storage, and GPS. The fire control computer allows manual or automatic fire missions.

HIMARS is designed to launch the full family of MLRS munitions, including the Extended Range Rocket, Short Range Training Rocket, and all future derivatives, in addition to the conventional MLRS cartridge.

The range of the HIMARS is by far its most significant advantage over other types of artillery. The Ukrainian army can now use the HIMARS remotely thanks to this. Moreover, it helps Ukraine to defend the system against Russian counterattacks.

Additionally, the HIMARS used by Ukraine has a range of 80 kilometers which works to its advantage when selecting targets. Ukrainian forces deliberately and tactically attacked Russian command posts, arsenal storage facilities and supply routes to halt and restrict the Russian campaign in eastern Ukraine.

The impressive combat success of this system in Ukraine was observed with interest in other countries. Australia, for its part, is looking to start manufacturing the system in the country. Previously, the United States announced in May 2022 that it had granted Australia’s request to purchase 20 M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) for approximately $385 million.

The Ukrainian conflict has been a test bed for many advanced weapon systems, and although the HIMARS have already proven themselves in combat, their newfound success has catapulted them to cult status.

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