Test Firing Concludes MBDA Extended Range GMLRS Technology Demonstrator Programme
Category: Future Technologies
On 21st July 2005, a team from MBDA and Lockheed Martin successfully conducted a test flight of a GMLRS ER (Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System Extended Range) rocket at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico, USA.
This one-off test flight concludes the GMLRS ER Technology Demonstrator Programme (TDP) for which MBDA is prime contractor under a contract awarded by the UK MoD’s Research Acquisition Organisation in April 2004. Lockheed Martin’s [NYSE: LMT] Missiles and Fire Control business unit is the main subcontractor as well as the overall Design Authority under the TDP. The TDP called for a flight demonstration showing a range extension to 100 km of the GMLRS M30 rocket that has been developed by Lockheed Martin for the five nations involved in the GMLRS programme. This range extension ties in with the UK MoD’s IFPA (Indirect Fire Precision Attack) requirements.
For the test firing an unarmed, modified GMLRS M30 rocket was fired at set coordinates from a standard GMLRS launcher. The test, which took place with representatives of the partner nations present, proved the primary objective, namely the achievement of the desired 100 km range, as well as the correct operation of the rocket during its longer flight at high speed and at a higher altitude than the standard M30. MBDA’s role during the development of the M30 rocket included System Studies, Guidance and Control, Autopilot Design, Trial Requirement Definition, Support Modelling and leveraged expertise gained when 11 members of the company were seconded to Lockheed Martin as part of the GMLRS development programme.
Commenting on the test firing, Marwan Lahoud MBDA’s Chief Executive Officer said: “The test result was a total success and demonstrated a feasible upgrade path for range extension to meet the UK’s needs. Furthermore, MBDA has successfully demonstrated that it can add value for European Nations through its ability to work in partnership with US organisations (Lockheed Martin and the US Government Missiles and Space Command) to offer improvements to an existing system”.
Rick Edwards, Lockheed Martin vice president, Tactical Missiles, said, “GMLRS is an all-weather, precision-guided munition that provides increased accuracy, thus reducing the number of rockets necessary to defeat current targets. The GMLRS rocket provides the U.S. and its allies increased precision and maneuverability.“