Ukraine has received 20 HIMARS vehicles and "more than 10" MLRS. A HIMARS has six rounds, which is half of the twelve rounds of an MLRS, but it is on a wheeled chassis instead of a tracked one. However, in Western news reports, it is HIMARS that is more often mentioned by name. Is there a political reason behind this?

  1. Could it be that Ukraine is more interested in highlighting the ongoing American aid?
  2. Could it be that the larger MLRS is less suitable for Ukrainian conditions, so the Western media does not want to draw attention to it?
  3. Is it a communications or PR issue, such as the news reports being based on press releases from the weapon manufacturer or the country that manufactures it?
  4. Are there any other less obvious political reasons?
  • 2
    Is the question why the press talks about HIMARS but not MLRS?
    – Schwern
    Dec 29, 2022 at 9:16
  • 3
    The big deal about HIMARS is its 70+ km range provides Ukraine with the ability to attack the Russian rear. However, this is due to the GMLRS missile which both MLRS and HIMARS can use. They probably should be reporting on the GMLRS missile rather than the launcher vehicles.
    – Schwern
    Dec 29, 2022 at 9:23
  • @Schwern, the question is if the Ukrainian press releases and statements talk about both and the press 'simplifies' it, or if the press releases just talk about HIMARS and the press reports that. And also, if anybody knows, about the actual use.
    – o.m.
    Dec 29, 2022 at 9:35
  • 4
    To the layman, HIMARS vs MLRS is a distinction without a difference. HIMARS has a catchy name, it arrived first, and more of them arrived. The actual use of the weapons is largely kept secret due to their high value. Official statements on actual use tend to be vague or ambiguous. You would need to clarify what you want to know about actual use to get more information on that. There are a lot of videos posted unofficially to social media platforms showing rockets launching from both systems, but multiple rockets don't launch concurrently, they launch one at a time per vehicle.
    – David S
    Dec 29, 2022 at 16:31
  • This seems more suited for a hardcore military Q&A site than for this forum. How is this about politics? If we were talking about up-missiling to ATACMS or whatever the long ranges ones are called, yes, there would be a political dimension. This however is a nomenclature Q within the same general family of weapons. Dec 29, 2022 at 17:25

2 Answers 2


Ukraine will not tell which launcher has been used, this is a military secret. Russia maybe would but they only see the rocket. Hence there is not much information available for the press about the actual usage of MLRS and HIMARS on the battlefield, and I do not really see many such articles in the independent press. When they write generally about these weapons, seems mentioning both, see this The New York Times article. Some articles just about HIMARS, they success only appeared before MLRS have been delivered.

HIMARS were first, have been discussed for longer and made easier observable changes in the battlefield. Hence they are more notable for this war. This makes them more suitable for various fakes like this and general propaganda push. I think it is Russian press that writes about HIMARS more than about MLRS.


HIMARS was delivered first in a single coordinated package, from the USA after a period in which there had been debate about the wisdom of providing such weaponry. It has a pronounceable acronym.

MLRS was delivered later, in several small deals, from German, France and the UK, after the debate about HIMARS had finished. That makes it less interesting.

The distinction is rather irrelevant, they both blow things up and kill people in nasty ways, so as a non-expert in military logistics, I'm not too bothered if a journalist makes a mistake and refers to a tracked M270 as a wheeled M142.

I've no idea which system is better suited to Ukrainian conditions. Probably both are fine.


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