Following a recent agreement struck with the U.S. Department of Defense, the British army will be embarking on a five-year programme to update its M270 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS), it announces on its website. Upgrades will be made to 44 launchers, which are currently in service, and will include a new armoured cab and upgraded automotive and launch mechanism components.
The upgrades will ensure that the British Army’s Land Deep Fires capability remains strong for the next three decades and that the Army has the technological capability to quickly meet the threats of today and tomorrow.
Taking advantage of the long-standing MLRS collaboration with the US and key allies, work will start on upgrading the first tranche of launchers in March 2023 with the fleet going through production over a four-year period. The upgrades will keep the equipment in service until 2050.
The work will be carried out under an existing production contract with Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control, with the work being carried out at Red River Army Depot and Lockheed Martin’s facility in Camden, Arkansas.
The UK is also developing UK-specific systems for the new launchers, including Composite Rubber Tracks (CRT), and a vehicle camera and radar system. A new Fire Control System will be developed collaboratively with the US, UK, Italy, and Finland. The CRT will provide higher fuel economy and allow the launcher to travel further, giving greater operational and tactical mobility to support deployed troops in a range of operating environments.
To ensure soldiers are not outranged, the British Army will develop a new extended-range missile with MLRS partners, to be fired from the updated launchers, which should be in service by 2025. The Guided MLRS Extended Range (GMLRS-ER) missile will extend the Army’s reach from 84 to 150km.
The 44 updated launchers will also be able to fire the US’s Precision Strike Missile (PrSM) which has a range of 499km and is expected to be in service from 2024. These weapons will place the British Army at the cutting edge of global deep fires capability, ready to respond to long-range air defence and missile threats presented by hostile actors.
MLRS is owned by the Royal Artillery and is operated by 26 Regiment RA from Larkhill, Wiltshire and 101 Regiment RA (Reserves) of Gateshead, Tyne & Wear.
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