How HIMARS is a Key Enabler for the Future Battlefield
Michael Williamson, Tactical & Strike Missiles Vice President
The world looked very different in 2005. From the rise of the nanotech trend to an era of streaming services, the year ushered in a new age of technology that would forever change the way we interact with our world.
Entering service that year, Lockheed Martin’s High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) changed the way warfighters engage in the battlespace by offering, as the name suggests, unmatched mobility in the field.
To maintain an advantage on tomorrow’s battlefield, investment in Long-Range Precision Fires (LRPF) is imperative, and HIMARS is the keystone to it all.
Technically advanced, affordable and sustainable, HIMARS is interoperable with the latest precision munitions that range 15 to 499+ km. This includes the entire suite of Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) munitions: Extended-Range Guided MLRS (ER GMLRS), GMLRS, the Precision Strike Missile (PrSM) and the Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS).
HIMARS can fire the same family of munitions as MLRS launchers but with one key difference – a wheeled chassis instead of tracks. This design offers a unique shoot and scoot capability that enables soldiers, Marines and our allies to position, engage and rapidly relocate after firing.
The future battlefield is unpredictable, making adaptability increasingly important. Sometimes this will require bringing the fight to a location previously thought unreachable. That’s where HIMARS shines because its light weight makes it highly transportable. It’s even deployable from C-130 and larger aircraft, providing prompt and decisive action in often hard to reach and austere locations. With multiple global partners that operate HIMARS and MLRS launchers, the U.S. can combine artillery firepower in key regional positions around the globe.
Right now, America’s armed services are working together to define and adopt Joint all-domain operations (JADO) - a concept of interconnecting multiple assets across air, land and sea to form a more unified force.
The JADO concept is integral to protecting the U.S. and its allies, and Lockheed Martin supports all-domain efforts by providing the tools and participating in joint exercises with our customers. HIMARS is a great example of this.
The HIMARS was tested in recent joint military exercises including Valiant Shield and Northern Edge, where it proved to be highly effective and reliable. It will also play a role in the U.S. Army’s Project Convergence later this year when it launches the PrSM in a side-by-side demonstration at White Sands Missile Range (WSMR), New Mexico.
With more than 1.9 million operating hours, HIMARS has certainly earned its reputation for outstanding combat reliability. On that scale, the HIMARS fleet together has logged more than 200 years of operating hours, making it an extremely cost-effective solution for our domestic and global customers.
Earlier this year we celebrated a milestone when the 500th HIMARS arrived in Romania for delivery to our global partner, and just this month the U.S. Army awarded another contract to build launchers for the U.S. Marine Corps and international customer.
HIMARS’ reliability is unquestionable and its modular platform that’s able to support future pod variants means it will be around for a long time to come. Here’s to the future!
About the Author
Tactical & Strike Missiles Vice President
Michael oversees Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control’s Tactical and Strike Missiles line of business which includes Precision Fires & Combat Maneuver Systems, Close Combat Systems and Hypersonic Strike Systems.
Prior to this role, Michael led MFC’s Sensors & Global Sustainment portfolio and Program Performance.