November 30, 2002; The U.S. Army is now issuing GMLRS (guided multiple launch rocket system) rockets to artillery units. This new rocket for the MLRS has a range of 70 kilometers and the ability to land within meters of its intended target. This is because it uses GPS (plus a back up inertial guidance system) to find its target. The army plans to buy 100,000 of the new rockets. Each 680 pound GMLRS carries 404 bomblets that attack personnel and vehicles when they detonate.
The GMLRS will be used extensively in the new truck mounted MLRS (HIMARS). This system carriers only one six missile cell (instead of two in the MLRS), but the 12 ton truck can fit into a C-130 transport (unlike the 22 ton tracked MLRS). The GMLRS, used in conjunction with reconnaissance UAVs like Predator, give the army the ability to call in it's own "air strikes." HIMARS and GMLRS containers (each containing six ready-to-fire rockets) can be quickly flown to distant war zones, to provide additional firepower for American troops.
The first of the 900 HIMARS vehicles will be issued to combat units later this year. The army is using most of the HIMARS, with the marines getting the rest.