U.S. Army Fires Extended Range Guided Missile, Strikes 50 Miles Away

Modern-day munitions are the stuff of nightmares. Guided, smart and precise, they can take out any target the military deems fit, and it seems not even distance provides enough shelter from death that rains from above.
Lockheed Martin Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System 4 photos
Lockheed Martin Guided Multiple Launch Rocket SystemLockheed Martin Guided Multiple Launch Rocket SystemLockheed Martin Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System
Proof of that is Lockheed Martin’s latest announcement. At the end of last week, at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico, one of the U.S. Army’s High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) fired an extended range version of the Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (ER GMLRS). The test saw the missile covering a distance of 50 miles (80 km), about 7 miles (11.2 km) further than the GMLRS with an alternative warhead. The increase in range was achieved by giving the missile a large motor and tail-driven control.

“Our new Extended-Range GMLRS significantly increases the range of the current system, offering the choice of munitions for longer distances and improving options with the same reliability and accuracy our customers have come to expect,” said in a statement Gaylia Campbell, vice president of Precision Fires and Combat Maneuver Systems at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control.

“Our team is dedicated to conducting extensive developmental testing as part of our discipline to assure mission success for the U.S. Army with more flexibility for multi-domain operations."

As its name says, the ER GMLRS is part of a family of precision-strike missiles that can guide itself to a designated target using GPS. According to the company-provided information, the missile has a reliability rating exceeding 98 percent, making it as unavoidable as death and taxes.

There are now three variants of the GMLRS. The first is the Unitary, which integrates a 200-pound unitary warhead (filled with a single explosive charge, not cluster munitions), the Alternative packing a 200-pound class fragmenting warhead, and the newly tested Extended Range.

So far, Lockheed Martin made over 50,000 GMLRS rounds, but it’s unclear how many of them have been fired in actual combat.

press release

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