Three Successful Tests of the Guided MLRS Unitary Rocket
Category: Defence Industry
Category: Defence Industry
DALLAS -- Lockheed Martin successfully conducted three flight tests of Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (GMLRS) Unitary rockets recently in three separate missions at White Sands Missile Range, NM.
Test objectives included demonstrating the GMLRS Unitary rocket in the point detonate, delay and proximity modes at short and long range. The GMLRS Unitary warhead has a tri-mode fuze which allows airburst, point-impact and delay detonation modes. These missions were part of the Production Qualification Test (PQT) flight test series of the GMLRS Unitary Rocket, which is manufactured at Lockheed Martin’s Camden, AR, facility.
“These missions were production qualification, man-in-the-cab launches of the GMLRS Unitary rocket, and all three flights met our expectations for extreme accuracy,” said Al Duchesne, director - MLRS Rocket Programs at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. “These tests demonstrated the capability of the GMLRS Unitary Rocket against tactical targets, collecting valuable information for its use on the battlefield.”
Lockheed Martin received a $119 million contract to conduct System Development and Demonstration (SDD) for a GMLRS variant with a single warhead in October 2003. The SDD contract includes 86 rockets, 71 of which are flight articles, with the balance supporting test and other activities. The contract also provides test hardware to support 26 flight tests for an initial configuration and 39 flight tests of a follow-on configuration.
The SDD phase of this program was preceded by a successful system demonstration in 2002 of a Quick Reaction Unitary Rocket and a nine-month Component Advanced Development program. The Guided Unitary SDD program will continue through 2007.
Lockheed Martin received a $12.5 million contract in early 2005 to accelerate the GMLRS Unitary rocket program for the U.S. Army. This represents a modification to the existing SDD contract, and accelerates the completion of the test program by 21 months.
Lockheed Martin completed delivery the first 72 GMLRS Unitary rockets in June 2005, satisfying the requirements of the Urgent Need Statement requested by the U.S. Army Aviation & Missile Command (AMCOM), Redstone Arsenal, AL. A total of 498 GMLRS Unitary rockets will be delivered according to the UNS.
“Basically, it [GMLRS Unitary] is a safer munition for our troops and nearby civilians, but a more deadly munition for the insurgents,” said Sgt. 1st Class Paul Luketich, senior fire control non-commissioned officer, Force Field Artillery Headquarters (FFA HQ), Multinational Corps-Iraq (MNC-I). “It’s the best munition in the arsenal today.”
“Guided Unitary is proving to be one of the most highly effective munitions in our troops’ arsenal in theater,” said Duchesne. “Not only does it limit collateral damage, but we’re hearing that it has been extremely effective in the war on terror. It’s so precise, it’s providing a much quicker and more effective cover in those defining moments.”
Guided MLRS Unitary integrates a 180-pound unitary warhead into the GMLRS rocket, giving battlefield commanders the ability to attack targets up to 70 kilometers away with high precision. This low-cost, low-risk program will greatly reduce collateral damage by providing enhanced accuracy to ensure delivery of the warhead to the target.
Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control was able to deliver the first lot of GMLRS Unitary rockets in a very short time after the Army’s initial request due in part to the use of company funds to supplement the request.
The GMLRS Unitary rocket performed successfully in 15 different tests in 21 months.