Artillery Tested For Rapid Deployment
By Dialogo May 19, 2011
Dust flew on White Sands Missile Range during a test of an improved missile launch system conducted at White Sands Space Harbor, N.M.
Members of the Precision Fires Rocket and Missile System Project Office test fired an upgraded version of the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System, or HIMARS. The test focused on new navigation and targeting equipment installed on the HIMARS system intended to enhance the system’s ability to rapidly deploy from an aircraft and fire.
To conduct the test, two HIMARS vehicles were loaded onto a C-17 cargo plane, with a third loaded onto a C-130 cargo plane. The planes then flew to White Sands Missile Ranger, or WSMR, and landed at Space Harbor where the HIMARS vehicles were quickly unloaded and their missiles launched.
“What this capability allows is proofing out the concept of allowing a system like the HIMARS to fly on a C-130 or a C-17 and come in and execute a target set and load back up and fly back to home station or a forward operating base,” said Lt. Col. Gregory Paul, product manager for Field Artillery Launchers, Precision Fires Rocket and Missile Systems Project Office.
The test was conducted in two parts, the first part being the pair of launchers deploying from the C-17. After firing, the pair of launchers were loaded back onto the C-17 and flown away to clear the area for the C-130 to land and repeat the process with the single launcher it had on board.
The HIMARS is a truck mounted version of the Multiple Launch Rocket System, or MLRS. Able to carry all of the same rocket and missile payloads as the tracked vehicle based MLRS, the HIMARS benefits from additional mobility allowing it to keep up with lighter units than the MLRS.
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