The US DoD has awarded a US$492.1m (A$700m) contract to Lockheed Martin for 20 M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HiMARS) launchers and associated systems for the US Army and USMC, and for Romania and Poland.
The contract marks the first order for HiMARS from Poland which was signed in February, and it includes a maintenance package, training, support equipment, qualification testing, and initial spares, as well as Guided Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS) missiles and MGM-140 Army Tactical Missile Systems (ATACMS).
Designed to be mounted on a standard US Army five ton M1140 truck frame with an armoured cab, HiMARS comprises a launcher loader module and fire control system mounted which can launch six guided rockets or a single ATACMS.
HiMARS is likely to be a leading contender for the Australian Army’s Project LAND 8113 Long-Range Fires requirement, a decision on which is due to be made in the early 2020s for service entry in 2025.
The Defence Integrated Investment Plan (IIP) says LAND 8113 will see a “long-range rocket system acquired in the mid-2020s to complement the ADF’s existing artillery capability, providing an option for long-range fire support (up to around 300km) to joint operations.”
Exercise Talisman Saber 2019 commenced in the Shoalwater Bay Training Area near Rockhampton on July 7 with a massed HiMARS launch by US Army operators.