Lockheed Martin's HIMARS Launcher Successful in Series of Production Qualification Tests
ORLANDO, FL, 16-FEB-04 --
Lockheed Martin's [NYSE: LMT] High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) has successfully fired 180 Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) Reduced-Range Practice Rockets (RRPRs) and one ATACMS Block I missile during production qualification testing conducted over the past several weeks. This series of accomplishments proved the transformational HIMARS Low-Rate Initial Production configuration can fire at peak operational tempo rates and successfully handle the entire MLRS suite of munitions.
Production Qualification Testing (Series II) of the system began in November and included successful firings of the MLRS M26 rocket, the ATACMS Block IA missile, the ATACMS Block II missile and the Guided MLRS rocket. During recent tests at the U.S. Army's Cold Region Test Center in Alaska, HIMARS successfully fired six Guided MLRS rockets under extreme cold conditions. Additionally, the system's deployability from C-130 aircraft was successfully demonstrated on November 18, 2003, at Fort Sill, OK.
While Initial Operational Test and Evaluation (IOT&E) of the system will take place from September to December 2004, the ultimate test of the system already occurred when three prototype HIMARS launchers were successfully used in combat during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
HIMARS provides the joint expeditionary force a lethal C-130-deployable capability that provides critical long-range fires immediately upon arrival... this is Future Combat System capability today! said LTC Darryl Colvin, U.S. Army Product Manager Field Artillery Launchers.
HIMARS is an important element of the fire support mission of both the U.S. Army and the U.S. Marine Corps, said Ron Abbott, Lockheed Martin vice president of Tactical Missiles. The system is mobile, able to fire the entire family of MLRS munitions including the ATACMS missile and Guided MLRS, and it meets all of the requirements of the current and future force.
HIMARS can be deployed into areas previously inaccessible to heavier launchers. It also includes the self-loading, autonomous features that have made MLRS the premier rocket artillery system in the world. HIMARS carries a single six-pack of MLRS rockets, or one Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) missile. Its fire control system, electronics and communications units are interchangeable with the MLRS M270A1 launcher, and the crew and training are the same.
In December, Lockheed Martin received an $88.9 million contract for the second Low-Rate Initial Production (LRIP II) purchase of the HIMARS for the U.S. Army and Marine Corps. During LRIP II, the Army plans to purchase 25 HIMARS launchers, with the Marines receiving one launcher. Current joint service acquisition plans call for procurement of more than 900 launchers. The First Unit Equipped (FUE) is on schedule for early 2005.