Russian hackers have launched “a new type of attack” on American military company Lockheed Martin, which makes the M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) that the U.S. has supplied to Ukraine, a pro-Moscow news website said.
The Kremlin-supporting Life website reported that the cyberattack by the Killnet and Killmilk hacker groups took place at 7 a.m. on Monday. The groups said the rocket systems – credited by the Ukrainians with shifting the balance in the war against Russia – had been responsible for thousands of deaths.
“The notorious HIMARS multiple launch rocket systems, supplied to Ukraine by the aforementioned military-industrial corporation, allow the criminal authorities of the Kiev regime to kill civilians, destroy the infrastructure and social facilities of the still temporarily occupied Ukraine,” the hackers said in a statement reported by Life.
The hackers said Lockheed Martin “is the actual sponsor of world terrorism, is responsible” for thousands of deaths. Newsweek has contacted Lockheed Martin for comment. Newsweek did not see evidence that Lockheed Martin sponsors terrorism.
A Russian military expert claimed on state television on July 28 that Russia had come up with a “secret development” that allows it to hack into the HIMARS systems.
On July 22, members of Killnet said: “We are using a new type of attack, we have no equal in this area. This is a new technology that we are using for the first time against the world’s largest arms manufacturer—Lockheed Martin,” Life reported at the time.
Lockheed Martin’s website describes it as a global security and aerospace company.
The HIMARS have been supplied to Ukraine by the United States, and the weapons have been touted as “a gamechanger” by senior Western military officials. The U.S. has promised Ukraine up to sixteen of the units, which can be mounted to a standard U.S. Army M1140 truck frame.
Each HIMARS can carry six GPS-guided missiles that can be reloaded in about a minute with a small team consisting of only a driver, gunner and launcher section chief.
The range of the weapons is 80km (50 miles), almost double the ranger of M777 howitzers, another Western-made weapon that Ukraine has been using against Russian forces since May.
A HIMARS can fire in similar ranges to conventional multiple launch rocket systems, at targets up to 300 km away.
On July 22, a senior U.S. defense official said that Ukraine had used HIMARS to destroy more than 100 “high value” Russian targets in recent weeks.
Ukraine says it has used the weapons to strike dozens of Russian ammunition depots, command-and-control sites, and other targets such as critical bridges in the Kherson region.
Kyiv has been mounting a counter-offensive to re-take the southern area that fell to the Russians in early March. Ukrainian forces have retaken dozens of villages and towns along the border and are pushing towards Kherson’s eponymous regional capital, the region’s military governor Dymtro Butrii has said.
Russia is moving large numbers of troops to the region and other areas in the south, Ukraine’s deputy head of intelligence said on Monday.
Kherson is strategically important in the conflict because it connects to the Crimean Peninsula, Ukrainian land Russia annexed in 2014.
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