Artillery: July 23, 2003


HIMARS is another new weapon that got used for the first time in Iraq. HIMARS (High Mobility Artillery Rocket System) is a wheeled version of the MLRS that carries only one MLRS container (that can hold six MLRS rockets or one longer range ATACMS rocket.) The 12 ton HIMARS can be carried by the C-130 transport and the army and marines have, together, ordered 89 of them. At least one HIMARS was seen operating with Special Forces in western Iraq. In one case, it fired an ATACMS rocket (with a range of 165 kilometers) in support of Special Forces operations. It's not known if the HIMARS was flown in via northern Iraq, or one of the airfields Special Forces captured in western Iraq. The ATACMS carries a warhead containing 950 anti-personnel bomblets, each the size of a baseball. HIMARS would make a good weapon for Special Forces, as it also has a longer range (300 kilometers) ATACMS rocket that carries only 300 bomblets, but is guided by GPS. Thus a few HMARS could provide round the clock, all weather support for Special Forces teams spread over a wide area. Each HIMARS costs about $5.2 million.


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