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US Army outlines USD2.8 billion GMLRS line buy

The US Army has awarded Lockheed Martin a USD2.8 billion Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (GMLRS) contract that includes deliveries into 2024.

On 26 March, the service announced the overarching ’indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity’ contract to purchase weapons in fiscal year (FY) 2021 with tentative plans for FY 2022. From that pot, the army is spending USD1.12 billion this year on 9,000 GMLRS Unitary and Alternative-Warhead rockets, and more than 2,000 low-cost, reduced-range practice rockets, according to Lockheed Martin. The company will deliver these weapons by September 2023.

The deal comes as the company continues developing its new Extended Range GMLRS (ER GMLRS) warhead. The effort expands the rocket motor diameter to increase range, modifies the control section for enhanced manoeuvrability, and incorporates a side-mounted proximity sensor to enable higher height of burst. The weapon uses a GPS-aided inertial navigation system, aft-mounted control actuation system, and either a unitary or an alternative warhead variant to hit point and area targets.

The programme is in the middle of a series of four engineering development flight tests, with the first two tests unearthing issues that the company has either fixed or is working on fixing.

During the first flight test in November 2020, for example, one of the weapon’s fins did not deploy.

“We made a couple tweaks to hardware and we changed some processes, but it was nothing major,” Becky Withrow, a business development manager at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control, told Janes during a 9 March interview.

A second flight test on 4 March at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, confirmed the fix but also showcased a new anomaly.

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