Finland defence minister Jussi Niinistö has allowed the country’s armed forces to procure munitions for a guided multiple launch rocket system (GMLRS) from the US.
Backed by the Cabinet Finance Committee, the proposal will be carried out as a foreign military sales (FMS) from the US government.
Under the €70m procurement, Finland is seeking munitions for a GMLRS alternative warhead (AW) to engage area targets, and a GMLRS Unitary for precision firing.
Manufacturing work under the contract, which is yet to be awarded, will be performed by Lockheed Martin, with deliveries expected to run until 2018.
The new guided munition will provide Finnish defence forces with long-range capabilities, and allow them to use the existing heavy rocket launcher system more effectively.
Between 2012 and 2015, the Finnish MLRS’s fire control system was upgraded, enabling the launchers to fire guided munitions.
An upgraded version of the legacy M26 rocket, the GMLRS is a short-range, road-mobile, solid-propellant artillery rocket. It is designed to destroy ground targets at a distance of up to 70km, with minimal collateral damage.
In November last year, the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress of a potential $150m FMS for 40 GMLRS pods to Finland.
The Jordanian Government also requested an estimated $192m sale of M31 unitary GMLRS pods in March 2016.
Image: MLRS-System with launch vehicle, loader and a command centre inside an M113-APC. Photo: courtesy of US military.