The Perfect Soldier: Special Operations, Commandos, and the Future of Us Warfare by James F. Dunnigan
Dirty Little Secrets
One Huge Footprint
Because of the success of the GPS version of the U.S. MLRS rocket, the smaller, truck mounted MLRS (HIMARS) rocket launcher system has become more popular. HIMARS carriers only one six rocket container (instead of two in the MLRS), but the 12 ton truck can fit into a C-130 transport (unlike the 22 ton tracked MLRS) and is much cheaper to operate. The 680 pound GMLRS (guided multiple launch rocket system) missile is as GPS guided 227mm rocket that entered service five years ago. It was designed to have a range of 70 kilometers and the ability to land within meters of its intended target, at any range. This is possible because it uses GPS (plus a back up inertial guidance system) to find its target. Last year, the U.S. Army tested GMLRS at max range (about 85 kilometers) and found that it worked fine. This enables one HIMARS vehicle to provide support over a frontage of 170 kilometers, or, in places like Afghanistan, where the fighting can be anywhere, an area of over 5,500 square kilometers. This is a huge footprint for a single weapon (an individual HIMARS vehicle), and fundamentally changes the way you deploy artillery in combat.
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