Lockheed Martin, a global leader in defense technology, recently completed the conclusive phase of development trials for its Extended-Range Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (ER GMLRS).
These successful trials have propelled the system closer to its deployment phase, marking a significant advancement in precision-guided munitions.
Let’s take a closer look at the latest developments in the cutting-edge munition.
Testing the Extensive Range and Accuracy
The ER GMLRS underwent rigorous testing, which included assessing its alternative and unitary warhead variants during the system’s qualification trials.
These tests encompassed a spectrum of ranges, from short and medium distances to reaching the maximum capabilities of the system.
Notably, each trial substantiated the system’s seamless integration with the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS), affirming its range, trajectory, and remarkable accuracy.
Versatile Deployment: Compatibility with Multiple Launch Platforms
Compatible not only with the HIMARS but also with the Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) M270 family of launchers, the ER GMLRS promises expanded capabilities for the military’s artillery arsenal.
This adaptability across multiple launch platforms reinforces its versatility and potential for widespread use in varied operational scenarios.
Doubling the Range: Enhanced Capabilities
One of the most striking advancements of the ER GMLRS is its remarkable range, approximately doubling that of its predecessor.
It has leaped from covering distances exceeding 70 kilometers (43 miles) to an impressive 150 kilometers (93 miles), all while retaining its unparalleled precision and reliability.
This substantial increase in operational range signifies a considerable leap forward in the military’s ability to engage targets at extended distances with unparalleled accuracy.
Endurance and Durability: Stockpile to Target Sequence Testing
Lockheed Martin emphasized the robustness and resilience of the ER GMLRS by highlighting the extensive stockpile-to-target sequence (STS) testing conducted on the rocket pods.
This critical phase simulated the cumulative effects the ER GMLRS could encounter from its production at the factory to its launch in the field.
The successful completion of the STS testing demonstrates the missile’s durability and the capability of its launch pod container to withstand the challenges it might face throughout its operational life.
“ER GMLRS continues to perform with precision as we move through system qualification testing and closer to the US Army fielding this critical capability,” said Jay Price, vice president for Precision Fires with Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control, in a press statement.
Next Phase: Operational Testing with the US Army
Looking ahead, following the conclusion of the qualification trials, the ER GMLRS variant is set to undergo operational testing with the US Army.
These tests will not only validate its operational readiness but will also further solidify its potential as a game-changing asset for the armed forces.
— Lockheed Martin News (@LMNews) December 14, 2023
The ER GMLRS’s extended range, coupled with its precision and reliability, positions it as a pivotal advancement in guided multiple-launch rocket systems.
Its successful development trials mark a significant milestone, underscoring Lockheed Martin’s commitment to providing cutting-edge defense solutions to bolster the capabilities of military forces.
Evolution of GMLRS and Its Capabilities
The GMLRS rockets boast several key attributes essential for contemporary military operations.
They exhibit persistent, responsive, all-weather, and rapidly deployable qualities alongside their long-range surface-to-surface precision-strike capability.
These munitions are notably fired from both the MLRS M270 and HIMARS launchers, showcasing their adaptability and compatibility across multiple launch platforms.
In its standard configuration, the GMLRS system comprises six rockets per launch pod, with the M270 launchers accommodating two pods and the HIMARS launchers carrying one pod.
Their extensive production history underscores their significance, with more than 60,000 GMLRS rockets already manufactured and the numbers steadily climbing.
Importantly, these rockets maintain an exceptional reliability rating exceeding 98 percent, affirming their trustworthiness and operational dependability.
Current GMLRS Variants
Within the GMLRS family, various variants cater to distinct operational requirements:
GMLRS Unitary: Renowned as the combat-proven Guided MLRS Unitary round, this variant integrates a 200-pound unitary warhead, delivering precision strike capabilities for point targets. With a range surpassing 70 kilometers (43 miles), the Unitary variant ensures highly accurate targeting.
GMLRS Alternative Warhead (AW): Developed as the first munition specifically designed to engage area targets while mitigating the impact of unexploded ordnance, the Guided MLRS AW round complies with stringent US Department of Defense cluster munitions policy and international guidelines. With a range exceeding 70 kilometers (43 miles), it employs a 200-pound (91-kilogram) class fragmenting warhead to address designated areas effectively.
Introducing the Extended-Range
As part of the ongoing developmental evolution within the GMLRS family, Lockheed Martin spearheads the creation of the ER GMLRS.
This innovative variation is designed to extend the operational range up to an impressive 150 kilometers (93 miles) under all weather conditions.
The ER GMLRS retains compatibility with the legacy GMLRS system, enabling deployment via both the HIMARS and the MLRS M270 family of launchers.
Lockheed Martin’s commitment to GMLRS production continues, with annual contracts for GMLRS unitary and alternative-warhead rockets, along with integrated logistics support for the US Army, US Marine Corps, and international customers.
Upon entering production, ER GMLRS units will be manufactured at the Precision Fires Center of Excellence located in Camden, Arkansas.
The culmination of Lockheed Martin’s exhaustive development trials for the Extended-Range Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System stands as a testament to the advancements achieved in defense technology.
With its expanded range, accuracy, and adaptability across launch platforms, the ER GMLRS holds promise as a transformative asset for modern warfare, ensuring enhanced operational capabilities for military forces worldwide.
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