The British Army’s M270 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS) will be undergoing a five-year upgrade program that will be undertaken as part a recent agreement with the US.
The MLRS is a mobile automatic system that fires 12 surface-to-surface missiles in less than a minute.
To ensure soldiers are not outranged, the army said it would purchase the new GMLRS-ER (extended range) missile which is currently being developed by Lockheed Martin. GMLRS-ER will extend the Army’s reach from 84 to 150km and is expected to enter service by 2025.
The updated launchers will also be able to fire the US Precision Strike Missile (PrSM) which has a range of 499km and is expected to be in British Army service from 2024.
Upgrades will be made to 44 launchers, which are currently in-service, and will also include a new armored cab and upgraded automotive and launch mechanism components.
The upgrades will ensure that the army’s land deep fires capability remains strong for the next three decades.
According to the army, work on upgrading the first tranche of launchers will start in March 2022 with the fleet going through production over a four-year period. The upgrades will keep the equipment in service until 2050.
Upgrades 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 better 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. A single launcher will be used to fire many payloads.
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.