May 31, 2022

Why Ukraine is pleading with the US for rocket artillery

Source: Task and Purpose

Journalist: Jeff Shogol

Because the Russians have plenty of multiple-launch rocket systems and they are well skilled at using them, the Ukrainians need comparable rocket artillery “to have a fighting chance,” said Marine Col. Jay Frey, who has extensive experience with both tube artillery and rocket systems.

During the Cold War, the Soviets developed multiple-launch rocket systems that could outrange and outgun U.S. tube artillery and also “wipe out a grid square early on,” said Frey, who is also a senior military fellow at the Center for a New American Security think tank in Washington, D.C.

“The Ukrainians want to have an equal or greater capability than the Russians because you just don’t want to be slugging it out via tube artillery,” Frey told Task & Purpose. “You would like to have an equivalent or better counter than what the Russians have – and they currently are really good at their rocket systems.”

So far, the U.S. government has committed to providing the Ukrainians with 108 M777 howitzers, each of which has a range of about 18 miles. The Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System has nearly twice the howitzers’ range and they can hit a target within about 2 meters, Frey said.

“My observation has been it hits exactly where you tell it to,” Frey said. “I think a big thing too is the minimal crew. You have quite a few people around tube artillery. But the GMLRS normally have a crew of only about three that fit in the vehicle.”

Read the full story and more from Task & Purpose.


  • Col James Frey

    Former Senior Military Fellow, United States Marine Corps

    Colonel James W. Frey is a Commandant’s Fellow at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) in Washington, D.C. Col Jay Frey recently completed a four-year assignment wit...