Artillery: December 13, 2000


The US Army wants funding to develop a unitary warhead for the Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System. The standard MLRS and GMLRS rockets scatter a number of small bomblets across a target, and unexploded bomblets present a subsequent hazard to civilians and friendly troops. A unitary warhead would have a single explosive charge. The Army says that with $12 million and three years, it can field a rocket with a range of 70km and an accuracy of two (correct, two) meters. (The standard GMLRS rocket has a circular error probable of ten meters, but the unitary warhead will reduce this to only two meters by using an advanced differential GPS system that is highly resistant to jamming.) With a large single explosive charge and superb accuracy, the UGMLRS could destroy a military building between two civilian buildings without causing excessive collateral damage. The weapon would be as accurate as the best guided air-to-surface missiles. The Air Force is opposing the plan since it wants to be the only service able to service such targets.--Stephen V Cole


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