The MGM-140 ATACMS (Army Tactical Missile System) has once again entered combat. This time, ATACMS made its first appearance in Ukraine. It is also the first time that a foreign military has used this missile. The United States has fired more than 600 ATACMS during combat operations.
ATACMS has a long and complex history. Originally, this missile was intended to be used against the Soviets, attacking large concentrations of tanks as well as command and control centers. ATACMS never saw combat against the Soviets but did participate in Operations Desert Storm and Iraqi Freedom.
At the beginning of the war with Russia, the Ukrainian government requested ATACMS to increase its battlefield support capabilities and compensate for the lack of sufficient attack aircraft. The United States was reluctant to supply these missiles, fearing that they could be used against targets within Russian territory.
Eventually, Washington relented and provided Ukraine with an undisclosed number of ATACMS. The announced targets were a pair of Russian air bases.
Will ATACMS change the course of the Russian-Ukrainian war? Probably not. But the missile will make it difficult for Russia to resupply its troops in occupied Ukraine. Each new weapon provided is another chess piece moving around the board. Long-range artillery was already causing problems for Russian logisticians, and ATACMS would further complicate their difficulties.
Air power did not defeat the Germans in World War II. A combination of air power, ground attacks, naval operations, and economic warfare slowly eroded the German Wehrmacht’s ability to resist. ATACMS is another means of wearing down Russian troops fighting in Ukraine.