The U.S. Army awarded Lockheed Martin a $10.5 million contract to develop a new modular pod for Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (GMLRS) rockets. The new pods will replace the depleting inventory of M26 rocket pods and support the increased production of GMLRS rounds.
The modular pod is designed to allow for reloading of individual rocket tubes as they are expended, whereas the original GMLRS pods are discarded after use. The pod will be able to fire the GMLRS Unitary and Alternative Warhead variants, as well as the developmental Extended-Range GMLRS rockets and future rounds.
«The new pods will be compatible with both the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) and MLRS M270 family of launchers», said Gaylia Campbell, vice president of Precision Fires and Combat Maneuver Systems at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. «These new pods will improve reload operations and assure our warfighters have adequate rounds available to them when they are most needed».
The modular pods will be produced at Lockheed Martin’s Precision Fires Center of Excellence in Camden, Ark. Ground testing will begin this fall, with a planned flight test before the end of the calendar year. The first deliveries of the new modular pod are anticipated in the fall of 2021.
For more than 40 years, Lockheed Martin has been the leading designer and manufacturer of long-range, surface-to-surface precision strike solutions, providing highly reliable, combat-proven systems like MLRS, HIMARS, the Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) and GMLRS to global customers.
The High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) was fired from the flight deck of the San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ship USS Anchorage (LPD-23) during Dawn Blitz 2017 October 22.
The HIMARS is a weapons system made up of the M142, five-ton chassis vehicle and can carry either a launcher pod of six rockets or one MGM-140 Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS).
It enables Marines to engage targets within minutes after firing and features an advanced targeting system that strikes with an extremely high accuracy rate. The system also features a greater range than traditional artillery, allowing smaller units to cover a larger area.
The demonstration on Anchorage consisted of HIMARS engaging a land-based target with a Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System Unitary (GMLRS-U).
«We had two training objectives for today’s shoot», said Army Major Adam Ropelewski, I Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF), lead planner for sea-based expeditionary fires. «The first training objective was demonstrating this capability and, second, we wanted to have good effects on the target. We achieved both objectives. We destroyed the target at 70 kilometers/43.5 miles while at sea.
Developing sea-based fires alternatives such as the HIMARS afloat and proving them to be effective provides an opportunity for our Navy and Marine Corps team to evaluate, refine and improve processes to be ready for the future fight.
«In an environment where we are operating in contested waters, we are finding a way to be able to support the land force with deeper strike capabilities», said Captain AJ Kowaleuski, an artillery officer with I MEF.
This ability provides flexibility while the Navy and Marine Corps are supporting each other in combined operations.
This portion of Dawn Blitz validated the commander’s ability to integrate HIMARS with ships to conduct a sea-based strike.
«What we demonstrated not only was its capability, but we further demonstrated capabilities from the blue-green team and Amphibious Force 3», said Ropelewski. «They performed very well and were able to come together and work hard to make the mission successful».
The shoot was a success from the operator’s perspective as well. «We shot a rocket off Anchorage to validate that we, as HIMARS operators, can shoot off an LPD and successfully hit the target», said Lance Corporal Ryan Irving, a HIMARS operator assigned to 5th Battalion, 11th Marines.
Exercises like Dawn Blitz are another way to strengthen and continue the interdependent relationship between the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps.
Irving concluded, «It’s nice to have a force integration, where we can work with the Navy and learn from each other in these situations».
Dawn Blitz is a scenario-driven exercise designed to train and integrate U.S. Navy and Marine Corps units by providing a robust training environment where forces plan and execute an amphibious assault, engage in live-fire events and establish expeditionary advanced bases in a land and maritime threat environment to improve naval amphibious core competencies.
Lockheed Martin has delivered the first Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) missile to the U.S. Army from the company’s new production facility in Camden, Arkansas.
Lockheed Martin is under contract to deliver 124 new ATACMS missiles to the U.S. Army and an international customer. The ATACMS program is in full-rate production at Lockheed Martin’s Precision Fires Production Center of Excellence in Camden.
Concurrent with production efforts, Lockheed Martin is nearing completion of a development contract with the U.S. Army that further enhances existing ATACMS missiles. The modifications include upgrades to the missile electronics, and complete the qualification of a height-of-burst proximity sensor, which provides increased area effects on targets.
«ATACMS has demonstrated unparalleled system performance and reliability for our customers», said Scott Greene, vice president of Precision Fires at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. «These latest ATACMS rounds will support Army readiness, and provide a critical new precision engagement capability to our international customers».
ATACMS is the U.S. Army’s only tactical long-range, deep precision-strike surface-to-surface weapon system. ATACMS missiles can be fired from the entire family of Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) launchers, enabling battlefield commanders the capability to operate in contested environments.
Lockheed Martin has produced more than 3,800 ATACMS missiles, with more than 20 years of on-time deliveries. More than 600 ATACMS missiles have been fired in combat, and the system has demonstrated extremely high rates of accuracy and reliability while in theater. Each ATACMS missile is packaged in a Guided Missile Launch Assembly pod.
Lockheed Martin was awarded a $142,750,920 firm-fixed-price, foreign military sales contract for 12 High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) with increased crew protection cabs incorporating sapphire transparent armor glass, associated training, spares, software, modernization updates, and planned enhancements and product improvement modifications for the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Procurement also includes synergistic spares purchase for Jordon. Work will be performed in Camden, Arkansas (63.80 percent); and Dallas, Texas (36.20 percent), with an estimated completion date of December 30, 2017.
According to Jeremy Binnie, Jane’s Defence Weekly correspondent in London, the U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) announced in 2006 that the UAE had requested the sale of 20 HIMARSs with 202 ATACMS pods, 260 GMLRS pods, and 104 M26 pods. The U.S. Army confirmed in October 2013 that the HIMARS systems had been delivered when it released photographs of them being operated by the UAE’s 97th Heavy Artillery Regiment during a training exercise. The DSCA announced in September 2014 that the UAE had requested a second batch of 12 HIMARSs with 100 ATACMS pods and 65 GMLRS pods. The Department of Defense (DoD) announced in May 2015 that Lockheed Martin had been awarded a $174 million contract to produce an unspecified number of ATACMS missiles for the UAE.
The High Mobility Artillery Rocket System is a wheeled launcher that delivers a lethal mix of precision munitions on the U.S. Army’s FMTV 5-ton truck. HIMARS carries a single six-pack of MLRS rockets or one ATACMS missile. HIMARS is designed to launch the entire MLRS family of munitions, including the transformational GMLRS and all ATACMS variants. HIMARS became a joint system when the U.S. Marine Corps joined the program in 2000. Approval to enter production was received in March 2003. HIMARS is currently in full-rate production.
Under contract to the U.S. Army, Lockheed Martin has delivered more than 400 HIMARS launchers to the Army, Marine Corps and international customers. In May 2005, the 3rd Battalion, 27th Field Artillery Regiment, XVIII Airborne Corps Artillery became the first unit equipped with HIMARS. Since then the U.S. Army has fielded eleven additional battalions, in both active and National Guard units. The U.S. Army plans to field an additional six battalions. Additionally, the Marines have fielded more than 38 launchers. HIMARS has expanded its global presence and has begun to serve the international market, including such countries as Jordan, Singapore and the United Arab Emirates.
HIMARS rolls off a C-130 combat loaded and delivers GMLRS and ATACMS munitions with pinpoint accuracy. The combat-proven HIMARS provides increased responsiveness, increased crew protection and increased effectiveness against time-critical targets, and supports conventional and Special Forces operations around the globe.