The US Army has awarded a $4.79bn production contract to Lockheed Martin to manufacture two full-rate production lots of GMLRS rockets and associated equipment.

GMLRS is an all-weather rocket designed for fast deployment that delivers precision strikes beyond the reach of most conventional weapons. The last time the US awarded a contract to Lockheed Martin for the GMLRS rocket was in 2021, in a Lot 16 production worth $1.12bn.

The munition is the preliminary round for the Lockheed Martin-produced HIMARS and MLRS family of launchers and features a Global Positioning System (GPS) aided inertial guidance package and small manoeuvring canards on the rocket nose, which add manoeuvrability to enhance the accuracy of the system.

The GMLRS system has been in service since 2005 and used extensively in Iraq and Afghanistan. The rocket’s range is up to 70 km and can be used against various targets, including personnel, vehicles, and buildings.

Under the contract, work will be performed at the Lockheed Martin facilities in Camden, Arkansas; Dallas and Lufkin, Texas; Archbald, Pennsylvania; and Orlando, Florida, and will be completed in 2026. The contract includes options for additional production lots, which could extend the work until 2030.

Lockheed Martin has a long history of providing precision strike weapons to the US military, and the GMLRS system is a critical component of its portfolio. The company has delivered over 50,000 GMLRS rockets to the US Army and international customers, including the Finland, France, and Bahrain.

Last week, Lockheed Martin was also awarded a $2.4bn contract for the Patriot missile system, a surface-to-air missile defence system designed to intercept and destroy incoming enemy missiles and aircraft.  

“We are working closely with our Army customer and supply chain partners, who are moving with unprecedented speed, to ramp production capacity supporting the urgent need for this highly-reliable, combat-proven rocket,” said Jay Price, vice president of Precision Fires for Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control.

“We’re seeing an increase in demand for this versatile rocket because GMLRS provides strategic advantage, unmatched accuracy, and it’s cost-effective,” said Price. “It’s the right round for many missions.”

The global aerospace and defence company reported strong Q1 2023 results with sales of $15.1bn and a segment operating profit of $1.7bn, representing a 16% growth from Q1 2022.