April 26, 2007 Lockheed Martin recently conducted several successful flight tests of a Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (GMLRS) Unitary Phase II rocket at White Sands Missile Range, NM, concluding the second phase of the Production Qualification Testing (PQT) requirement series for the contract. Guided MLRS Unitary integrates a 200-pound unitary warhead into the GMLRS rocket, giving battlefield commanders the ability to attack targets up to 70 kilometers away with extremely high precision. This low-cost, low-risk program has helped to greatly reduce collateral damage by providing enhanced accuracy to ensure delivery of the warhead to the target.
Test objectives included demonstration of the GMLRS Unitary rockets in the point-impact and proximity modes at short, medium and long ranges against tactically representative targets. Completed test missions filled requirements for both the Engineering Development Test (EDT) and PQT series.
"The GMLRS program continues to be one of success," said Lt. Col. Mark Pincoski, U.S. Army Precision Guided Munitions and Rockets Product Manager. "A little over one year ago, GMLRS entered full-rate production. The Urgent Material Request Unitary rocket has been used in theater since September of 2005, and has become the weapon of choice for troops in contact due to its effectiveness and accuracy."
Lt. Col. Pincoski continued, "With our successful completion of Phase 2 EDT and PQT, we can now proceed to a Milestone C decision for the Objective Unitary rocket. The results of these tests have demonstrated the maturity of the technology involved and its readiness to proceed into initial production. The incorporation of trajectory shaping software and a Tri-Mode fuze into the objective rocket will make it the most effective indirect weapon system in the Army's arsenal."
Improvements to the current fielded system contained in the Phase II variant included software upgrades, new trajectory shaping modes and the tri-mode fuze capability. The multiple fuze modes include an airburst mode, which detonates above the target point; a point detonate mode, which impacts at the target point; and a delay mode, which impacts below the target point. The diversification of fuze mode options allows the system to be effective against multiple target sets while maintaining low collateral damage.
Seventeen successful Guided MLRS Unitary test missions, involving a total of 30 rockets, were completed in 2006.
GMLRS is an all-weather, precision-guided rocket that provides increased accuracy thus reducing the number of rockets necessary to defeat current targets by 80 percent. The GMLRS rocket provides increased precision and maneuverability, and can be fired from the MLRS M270A1 and the HIMARS launchers.