Description: The GMLRS (Guided MLRS) is an international program in partnership between the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, France and Italy to produce a guided rocket for the M270 artillery system as well as follow-on multiple launch rocket systems such as the M270A1 and HIMARS. The US Army is expected to receive the first GMLRS by 2005 and the European partners from 2006 onward.
The XM30 rocket will feature an extended range, all-weather capability and an INS/GPS based guidance system. Additionally, small canards on the rocket nose will provide maneuverability and ultimately high accuracy. The guided/maneuverable GMLRS rockets will enhance rocket artillery units with a precision strike capability. Lockheed-Martin estimated that average GMLRS can destroy the same target than MLRS rockets but employing 20 percent of rockets thus minimizing collateral damage.
The maximum range of the GMLRS will be in excess of 60 km (approx. 70 kilometers current estimates) and the payload will be reduced to only 404 M77 DIPCM submunitions. The GMLRS outstanding accuracy will be measurable in meters. GMLRS along with other improvements will allow the deployment of the M270 MLRS weapon system for several decades to come.
The European Fire Control System (EFCS) was developed to effectively fire and control the new GMLRS rocket provided by Lockheed-Martin. EFCS was developed and will be integrated into existing European MLRS systems in partnership between EADS, Thales (France and Italy) and Krauss-Maffei Wegmman. Field testing was scheduled to start in early 2005 with the first EFCS integrated into the M270 launcher. Production EFCS-equipped launchers is expected to commence in 2006.
Lockheed-Martin was awarded the third low rate initial production (LRIP) contract valued at $108 million for 1,014 GMLRS rockets armed with Dual Purpose Improved Conventional Munitions (DPICMs) on January 31, 2005. Rocket deliveries for this assignment were scheduled to be completed by April 30, 2007. Previously, Lockheed-Martin was awarded the first LRIP contract for 170 (156? other sources) rockets valued at $24 million in June 2003 and the second contract for 840 missiles worth $85 million in February 2004. GMLRS production is expected to extend beyond 2020. The first LRIP contract was completed in May 2005.
Lockheed-Martin and MBDA team are considering new variants and further enhancements for the GMLRS rocket family. Europe-based MBDA in conjunction with Aerojet are offering a variant of BANG warhead to equip GUMLRS rocket. MBDA proposing a laser guided M30 variant for improved accuracy.
In August 2005, the United Kingdom became officially the first international customer for the GMLRS rocket weapon. Lockheed-Martin was awarded a $55 million Foreign Military Sales (FMS) contract to deliver GMLRS with the Dual Purpose Improved Conventional Munitions (DPICM) warhead to the British Army through March 2007.
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