British Army Exploring MLRS Launched Effects

lockheed Martin extended-range Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System

Lockheed Martin's Extended-Range Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System.

Credit: Lockheed Martin

LONDON—The British Army is exploring how it could deliver a range of effects using the guided missiles fired from its Lockheed Martin M270A2 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS).

In an analogue of the air-launched effects such as uncrewed aircraft systems (UAS) launched from helicopters, the Army’s Long-Range Area Effects (LRAE) Demonstrator is exploring how the Extended-Range Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (GMLRS-ER) could carry a range of different payloads. 

Two of the potential payloads are being displayed in model form at the Defense Security Equipment International (DSEI) exhibition being held here in London Sept. 12-15. 

It is hoped that the multi-phased study into LRAE could lead to a firing of the payloads from an MLRS around 2025.

Among the payloads is an adapted version of Thales’ proposed free-fall Light Multirole Missile, five of which can be squeezed inside the Guided MLRS (GMLRS) rocket, which—once released—would be able to top-attack armored targets, giving the Army a new way of performing engagements against military armored formations.

Another payload is a trio of canisters that contain small UAS to perform intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions. The study also will consider other effects and capabilities, officials say.

The upgrade forms part of the British Army’s Land Deep Fires efforts, which will not only enhance the MLRS system, but also grow the number of weapons in the system inventory. As well as the GMLRS and GLMRS-ER already in use on the M270, the Army is also looking to acquire the Lockheed Martin Precision Strike Missile (PrSM)—which has a 310-mi. (499-km) range—and acquire a Land Precision Strike Missile, which is currently the subject of work underway by missile manufacturer MBDA. The UK is upgrading three deep fires regiments with the M270A2—adding a new fire control system, a new engine and an armoured cabin.

The UK also had delivered some non-upgraded M270s to Ukraine to bolster that country’s MLRS capability in the face of the Russian invasion.

Tony Osborne

Based in London, Tony covers European defense programs. Prior to joining Aviation Week in November 2012, Tony was at Shephard Media Group where he was deputy editor for Rotorhub and Defence Helicopter magazines.