13 Apr 05. BATTLESPACE was told by INSYS during a recent visit that firing trials with the LIMAWS system have begun in Scotland using the Diehl training round. The first of eight rounds has been fired and the results were encouraging according to Insys. Insys was awarded a £9m Assessment Phase (AP) contract for LIMAWS(R) by the DPA, Future Artillery Weapon System Integrated Project Team of the Ministry of Defence in August 2003. INSYS has designed and built a system demonstrator, comprising a 6×4 HMT vehicle with a self-loading launcher mechanism from Lockheed Martin consisting of a 6-pack MLRS pod. During the AP, as well as the firings, the integration of a Fibre Optic Missile and ATACMS will also be studied. (See: FALCON CREEPS TOWARDS MAIN GATE)
Designed to be transportable by helicopter and C-130, LIMAWS(R) will deliver high-volume, high precision fire support to ground forces in areas inaccessible to larger artillery systems. The system is two thirds lighter than the HIMARS system provided to the U.S. Armed Forces by Lockheed Martin.
INSYS is teamed with Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control of Dallas, Supacat, HMT, QinetiQ, Diehl GMbH & Co and Symbiotics.
Brian Hibbert, Managing Director of INSYS, said, ‘This LIMAWS(R) contract will allow INSYS to provide a precision artillery system rapidly deployable to the battlefield, thereby making a significant contribution to the British Army’s goal of providing Rapid Effects for expeditionary forces’.
LIMAWS forms part of the overall MoD requirement for highly mobile artillery systems. As part of the LIMAWS requirement the LIMAWS (G) gun element will be provided by the M777 BAE SYSTEMS 155mm Lightweight Howitzer, currently selected by the U.S. Marine Corps. The UK requirement is expected to reach main gate at the same time as the LIMAWS (R) with the provision for a number of towed systems and mounted. In July, the MoD is expected to start comparative trails using the Giat Caesar system and an M777 gun mounted on an HMT 8×6 chassis currently being manufactured for BAE SYSTEMS by Supacat Ltd. The U.S. Marines are currently evaluating three vehicle types for the air portable element of the M777 gun, they are Pinzgauer 6×6 (See: BATTLESPACE UPDATE Vol.7 ISSUE 14, 08th April 2005, STEWART & STEVENSON ACQUIRES AUTOMOTIVE TECHNIK), the Lockheed Martin HMT and the Krauss-Maffei Mungo. The requirement is for 122-188 vehicles. Stewart & Stevenson said that the likelihood is that if they win the requirement the vehicles will be built initially in the UK and then in CKD form at their Sealy plant should numbers increase. Lockheed Martin has not chosen an in-country supplier for its vehicles yet and may build them at its Owego plant or have them supplied from the UK, Krauss-Maffei’s U.S. partner has not been announced.
The UK has not decided on an M777 tow vehicle but will take advantage of lessons learnt in the U.S. trials. The U.S. Marine Corps is likely to use the Oshkosh MTVR for the heavier towing requirement, as may the UK as a sop to the loss of the larger SV contract to MAN (See: BATTLESPACE UPDATE Vol.7 ISSUE 14, 08th April 2005, MAN SIGNS UK SUPPORT VEHICLE CONTRACT – OSHKOSH TAKES STOCK)