Ukraine has used an indigenous guided artillery rocket with greater range than the Guided Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (GMLRS) provided by the US and allies, a Ukrainian official revealed.
The Vilkha-M can strike a target 110 kilometers (68 miles) away, the first deputy head of the National Association of Ukrainian Defense Industries, Ivan Vinnyk, told The War Zone.
In comparison, the GMLRS round, fired from the HIMARS and the M270 Multiple Launch Rocket System, has a range of 80 kilometers (50 miles).
Moreover, the 485-pound (220 kilograms) Vilkha warhead is over twice the weight of the GMLRS, inflicting greater damage.
Using Since May
The Ukrainian military first used the Vilkha-M in May 2022, Vinnyk told the outlet, without revealing where the munition was used.
Kyiv developed the munition under an upgrade program that commenced in 2018 following the Crimea invasion.
The Vilkha-M is an upgrade of the Vilkha multiple rocket launcher system ammunition, developed from the Soviet 300mm BM-30 Smerch system artillery rocket.
A Longer-Range Vilkha Soon
Ukraine has produced about 100 Vilkha-M units so far, the official revealed, adding that plans are in place to enhance its range to 150 kilometers (about 93 miles).
The longer-range variant would have the same range as the Ground Launched Small Diameter Bomb (GLSDB) the Pentagon recently authorized for Ukraine, but with a larger warhead.
Ukraine could deploy the munition against hardened targets the GMLRS cannot take out.
Vinnyk said the new variant could be ready when Ukraine launches its anticipated “counter-offensive,” underlining that the munition would not be tested before being used in battle.
“Let’s say, hopefully just in time for the widely estimated date of counter-offensive on the south towards Azov Sea,” he told The War Zone.
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