LOCKHEED MARTIN MISSILE DIVISION SHOWS ITS STRENGTH AT AUSA
16 Feb 05. Firing on all cylinders right across the board was the message given by Lockheed Martin’s Missiles and Fire Control Division. BATTLESPACE Editor Julian Nettlefold was briefed on developments in GMLRS and Javelin in particular.
During the show Lockheed announced that it had received a $108m Low-Rate Initial Production-3 (LRIP-3) contract from the U.S. Army to produce 1,014 Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (GMLRS) rockets. 5 countries including U.K., Germany and France and the U.S. Marine Corps have expressed interest in GMLRS; the U.K. has expressed an interest in joining the LRIP contract whilst the USMC has put in a supplemental for this year for the 06 budget.
The GMLRS targeting system allows targets from multiple sensors to be passed direct to the launcher. The Battery Commander can override the commands in certain circumstances. This is in contrast to the U.K. which has its own dedicated UAV, the ageing Phoenix. The insertion of GMLRS into the U.K. inventory may lead to a rethink in the doctrine and manner by which the system is deployed in the U.K.
“The U.S. Army has expressed a need for greater accuracy from its fire support systems,” said Ron Abbott, vice president – Tactical Missiles for Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. “Guided MLRS provides the warfighter with accuracy that is literally measured in meters, giving our soldiers a more accurate, more effective solution to their fire support requirements.”
The GMLRS rocket is the latest addition to the MLRS family of munitions which began development in 1980 (The Editor worked for MIC, the European unit in 1985!). GMLRS is an all-weather, precision-guided rocket that provides increased accuracy thus reducing the number of rockets necessary to defeat current targets by 80 percent. The GMLRS rocket provides increased precision and manoeuvrability, and can be fired from the MLRS M270 and M270A1 launchers and the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) launcher. The U.K. LIMAWS lightweight, heliportable version of MLRS, now under development by Insys in the U.K. is reported to have slipped 6 months in its development programme. The system is mounted on a version of the 6×6 HMT Ltd vehicle in contrast to the U.S. HIMARS system which is mounted on a Stewart & Stevenson chassis and has a requirement to be heliportable which results in size and weight limitations. Should LIMAWS slip and encounter budgetary resistance, the U.K. is still believed to be looking at HIMARS as an alternative.
Work on the contract will be performed at Lockheed Martin facilities in Dallas, TX, and Camden, AR. Delivery of the rockets is expected in 2006 and 2007. The U.S. Army Aviation & Missile Command in Huntsville, AL, is the contracting agency.
In June 2003, Lockheed Martin received its first GMLRS LRIP contract, valued at $24m, for 156 missiles. In February 2004, an $85 million LRIP-2 contract was signed for an additional 840 GMLRS rockets. The U.S. Army plans to buy more than 100,000 GMLRS rockets. The GMLRS program successfully completed operationally testing in December 2004. More than 24 GMLRS rockets were fired from a MLRS M270A1 and HIMARS launchers over a two-month time period.
GMLRS is a Future Force system with a range of more than 70 kilometres. The system incorporates a GPS-aided inertial guidance package integrated on a product-improved rocket body. Small canards on the guided rocket nose provide basic maneuverability and enhance the accuracy of the system.
Lockheed also gave details of the Guided Unitary MLRS which is an MLRS system with a unitary 200lb warhead, with an airburst option. The system has been offered to the same customers as the standard GMLRS system. Sine Milestone ‘B’ Approval in March ’03, the system has had 5 successful tests and its development has been accelerated in the FY 05 budget following an Urgent Need statement in Oct ’04. Forthcoming eve