The US military plans to establish a training center in Europe to teach NATO allies how to handle missile launchers High Mobility Service, or HIMARS, told the voice of america a top US general amid increased demand for the systems in Eastern Europe following the successes of this weapon in Ukraine.
“We’re still in the early stages here, but it would be an area where we would maybe bring multiple countries into one place,” V Corps commander Lt. Gen. John Kolasheski, who is responsible for US Army operations, told along the eastern flank of NATO.
The high military offered the statements to the VOA in an exclusive interview Tuesday night.
The news came as the State Department on Tuesday approved the potential sale of 18 HIMARS launchers to Poland, along with hundreds of multiple-launch guided rocket systems and dozens of Army tactical missile systems. The Polish government requested the sale, for an estimated value of $10 billion.
The proposed HIMARS program would be available to NATO countries that are approved for foreign military sales of long-range artillery systems, which include nations like Estonia, Poland and Romania on the eastern side of the military bloc.
“They [la OTAN] They see the brutality of what has happened in Ukraine, and there is a sense of urgency, there is a sense of purpose, and all 30 nations agree to come together in this effective defense of NATO turf,” Kolasheski said.
Estonian Defense Minister Hanno Pevkur told the VOA earlier this week that “one of the most important lessons learned” from the war in Ukraine is that “long-range fire is extremely important.” HIMARS is credited with changing the momentum of the war.
Estonia has purchased six HIMARS units which are expected to be delivered in the 2024-25 period. An American HIMARS unit is providing additional defensive capabilities in the Baltics, and Pevkur added that this platoon is also allowing Estonian forces to start training on the missile systems “today” so they are ready to use them “from day one.”
Abrams Academy of Poland
Kolasheski said the proposed HIMARS training center would be “a similar build” to the Abrams Tank Training Academy, which opened near Poznan, Poland, last year to familiarize Polish forces with Abrams-made main battle tanks. in United States. Poland was the first European ally to acquire the Abrams, buying 250 M1A2 Abrams tanks last year and 116 M1A1 Abrams tanks in January.
Part of the Abrams program includes a type of apprenticeship, where Polish forces join Army tank units to study how to repair and fire tanks, according to Kolasheski.
Since the Abrams academy opened last summer, a class of Polish tank operators and a class of handymen have graduated.
Poland has quickly become a military hub for US forces in Eastern Europe and has been a strong advocate of sending Western tanks to Ukraine.
Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak said on Saturday that Poland had begun training Ukrainian military forces on German-made Leopard 2 tanks.
Asked if the Abrams Tank Training Academy in Poland would be used to train the Ukrainians, Kolasheski told the VOA that there is still “no decision on the matter at this time.”
After President Joe Biden announced last month that the US would provide Abrams tanks to Ukrainian forces, the Pentagon has since said that it will first need to acquire the tanks because there is no excess available in US stocks. The measure will delay the delivery of this powerful weapon.
However, the British-made Leopard 2 tanks and Challenger 2 tanks are expected to arrive on the battlefield in Ukraine as soon as Ukrainian training is complete.
“Tanks are highly anticipated and I really hope we are not too late for that,” defense chief Pevkur told the VOA.
Asked if it was realistic to expect Ukrainian forces to be operating Leopard 2 or Challenger tanks within a few months, Kolasheski replied: “I think it is.”
“They are very, very motivated. They are very anxious. I mean, this for them is an existential threat, ”she asserted.
The VOA He asked the Pentagon for access to US forces training Ukrainians in Germany and to the Abrams Tank Training Academy in Poland, but the request was denied.
Source: VOA Español