GMLRS launch

Lockheed Martin has successfully completed the second production qualification test (PQT) of its new guided multiple launch rocket system (GMLRS) alternative warhead at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico, US.

The testing, which follows the initial successful PQT test conducted in October 2013, witnessed firing of four rockets from a M270A1 launcher and destruction of their respective targets approximately 17km away.

Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control Tactical Missiles vice-president Ken Musculus said the PQT confirms that the rocket design is in compliance with customer requirements.

”This successful test signifies we are on the right track to deliver a reliable, high-quality product to our customer,” Musculus said.

Lockheed received a $79.4m contract from the US Army for the alternative warhead programme (AWP), a part of a US Department of Defense’s (DoD) plan to create a GMLRS variant that can achieve the same area-effects as previous submunitions warheads, but without the lingering danger of unexploded ordinance.

"We are on the right track to deliver a reliable, high-quality product to our customer."

Scheduled to run for 36 months, the engineering, manufacturing and development (EMD) contract focuses on system performance, warhead qualification and producibility.

Manufactured by ATK under a subcontract from Lockheed, the alternative warhead will be designed to easily integrate within the existing GMLRS architecture, as a drop-in replacement for the dual-purpose improved conventional munition warhead.

The GMLRS is a 200lb all-weather, rapidly deployable, long-range rocket capable of providing soldiers with enhanced manoeuvrability through accurate destruction of targets located at a distance of up to 70km in the battlefield.

Fired from M270A1 launcher, MLRS and M142 HIMARS, the system can engage moving ground targets with high explosive (HE) grenades designed for use against both personnel and vehicles, and also destroy surface-to-air missile sites, airfields or communication centres.

Image: the final pre-acceptance trial of the guided multiple launch rocket system at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, US. Photo: courtesy of Mike Weston.

Defence Technology