NATO Ally Could Get U.S. HIMARS To 'Deter Regional Threats'

The Netherlands might soon become America's latest NATO ally to arm itself with the famed U.S.-made M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System—colloquially known as HIMARS—which has become a "must-have" for nations concerned by Russia's regional aggression.

The State Department on Thursday announced it had made a determination approving a possible sale of HIMARS launchers and related equipment to the Netherlands worth an estimated $670 million, and that it had notified Congress of the proposed sale.

"This proposed sale will support the foreign policy and national security objectives of the United States by helping to improve the security of a NATO ally that is an important force for political stability and economic progress in Europe," the State Department announcement said.

Romanian HIMARS firing in NATO drills Constanta
A Romanian HIMARS fires a rocket during the EAGLE ROYAL 23 military exercises at Capu Midia firing range north of Constanta, on the Black Sea on February 9, 2023. DANIEL MIHAILESCU/AFP via Getty Images

The potential Dutch order would consist of 20 HIMARS launchers, the State Department announcement said, along with dozens of alternative missile pods enabling its launchers to fire ammunition including the M30A2 Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (GMLRS), insensitive munitions, high explosive rockets and the long-range M57 Army Tactical Missile System—known as the ATACMS.

"The proposed sale will improve the Netherlands' military goals of updating capability while further enhancing interoperability with the United States and other allies," the State Department said.

"The Netherlands intends to use these defense articles and services to modernize its armed forces and expand its capability to strengthen its homeland defense and deter regional threats. The Netherlands will have no difficulty absorbing this equipment into its armed forces."

The HIMARS' success in Ukraine has already prompted several orders by NATO allies on the bloc's eastern front, where nations have long feared revanchist Russian aggression. In November, Lithuania signed a deal for eight launchers, quick on the heels of fellow Baltic states Estonia and Latvia who have secured six each.

The U.S. has provided Ukraine with 20 HIMARS since Russia's full-scale invasion of the country began in February 2022. The Ukrainians have proved adept at using the launchers to strike Russian troop concentrations, logistics hubs and supply routes deep behind enemy lines, spreading fear among occupying units and forcing them to relocate depots deeper in the rear.

Poland—which is in the midst of a historic expansion in military spending—had already agreed its first deal for 20 systems in 2018. Warsaw is now looking to add several hundred more HIMARS to its arsenal, though concerns about the delivery time means Poland is also considering supplementary Chunmoo systems from South Korea.

Romania, a NATO nation since 2004, already operates 54 HIMARS. The U.K., France, Germany, Italy, Greece and Turkey all operate their own MLRS variants, as does Finland which is currently seeking to join NATO. Helsinki also recently registered its interest in GMLRS munitions.