The US has deployed M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) in Alaska to support Defender Pacific 2020 exercise.

The system was deployed by ‘Thunderbolts’ with the 5th Battalion, 3rd Field Artillery Regiment, 17th Field Artillery Brigade at Eareckson Air Station in Shemya Island.

This will support expeditionary deployment operations through M142 HIMARS rapid infiltration (HIRAIN) training. It aims to improve the crew’s combat readiness and striking ability by rapidly preparing and mobilising the HIMARS.

US Army 5th Battalion, 3rd Field Artillery plans and operations officer Major Kevin Shouse said: “This HIRAIN (mission) validates 5-3 FA and 17th Fab’s ability to rapidly project combat power in the Indo-Pacific region.

“It took the tireless efforts of 5-3 FA’s soldiers to make this operation a success.”

Defender Pacific 20 is a joint exercise to confirm strategic readiness by deploying combat credible forces across the Indo-Pacific Theatre of operations.

This year’s exercise commenced weeks earlier with a deployment in Guam. The second phase of the exercise is held in Alaska.

Last month, the US Army awarded a contract to Lockheed Martin for HIMARS launchers and associated hardware.

The agreement required Lockheed Martin to produce 28 units of the HIMARS. The delivery is scheduled to commence in 2022.

The US Army uses HIMARS to launch Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (GMLRS) rockets, Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) missiles, as well as Precision Strike Missile (PrSM) and Extended-Range GMLRS rockets.