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Forbes: ATACMS Strike On Russian Ship Disclosed Important Detail

Forbes: ATACMS Strike On Russian Ship Disclosed Important Detail

The next target could be the Crimean Bridge.

On Sunday, May 19, the Ukrainian forces sank another warship of the Black Sea Fleet of the Russian Federation – the minesweeper Kovrovets. In just 27 months of full-scale war, Ukraine destroyed or damaged more than a dozen pre-war-made Russian ships.

According to Forbes, the Kovrovets was sunk with the help of a pair of American ATACMS missiles. These missiles are designed for attacks on land and their use as an anti-ship weapon is quite atypical.

This is because the accuracy of hitting ATACMS with inertial guidance, according to most sources, is about 9 meters from the target. When it comes to a ship, that's not enough.

At the same time, ATACMS models M39 (160 km) and M-39A1 (300 km) disperse hundreds of submunitions the size of a grenade, which compensates for the lack of accuracy. They can damage the upper part of the ship, but are unlikely to sink the ship, since this requires breaking through the body.

However, if the ATACMS system was used to sink the Kovrovets, this could mean that there is a version of the M48 missile at 270 km or the M57 ATACMS at 300 with 200-kilogram warheads in addition to the M39 and M39A1 ATACMS with submunitions.

It follows that M48 and M57 are more accurate than many observers assumed, and the consequences are significant. Vessels of the Black Sea Fleet that stayed in Sevastopol are within reach of M39A1, M48 and M57.

“If ATACMS are taking out Russian warships in Sevastopol, hard to see the base having much utility left for the Russians,” pointed out Phillips O’Brien, a professor of strategic studies at the University of St. Andrews.

At the same time, the S-400, which was hunted by the Ukrainian Forces in Crimea, could not intercept the ATACMS. According to military consultant Nuno Felix, Russians have almost no capability to deal with them.

No less alarming for the invaders is the fact that ATACMS can pose a serious danger to the Crimean Bridge. The precision that would allow an M48 or M57 to hit a ship should also allow it to hit a bridge, explained Fabian Hoffmann, a researcher with the Oslo Nuclear Project in Norway.

There is also another logistics line – the railway through the south of Ukraine occupied by the Russian Federation. If Ukraine can block it and demolish the Kerch Bridge, it will be able to cut off Russian troops in Crimea. Then the peninsula will be at a disadvantage.

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