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Department of Defense news release (April 7, 2006): new Guided MLRS Unitary Rocket is immediate success in Iraq.

In September 2005, Bravo Battery, 3rd Battalion, 13th Field Artillery Regiment conducted the first-ever combat fire mission using Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System-Unitary (GMLRS-U) rockets against enemy positions in Tal Afar, Iraq. Eight rockets were fired at a distance of greater than 50 kilometers, destroying two insurgent strongholds and killing 48 enemy insurgents. Damage to adjacent structures was minimal. Three more missions have been conducted since that time, all with equal success.

The effectiveness of the new munition was welcomed by commanders fighting in an environment where enemy forces attempt to conceal themselves in areas populated by noncombatants. Following the mission, Army Col. H.R. McMaster, commander, 3rd Armored Calvary Regiment, made the statement, "The GMLRS proved itself in combat in Tal Afar and provided the regiment with tremendous capability. It not only was able to hit enemy positions with a great deal of precision, but was able to limit collateral damage."

GMLRS-U is a solid-propellant artillery rocket deployed from the M270A1 and the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System mobile launch vehicles. GMLRS-U is equipped with a 200-pound unitary high-explosive warhead, has a range of over 70 kilometers, and is effective against multiple targets including reinforced concrete. The addition of an inertial guidance system coupled with a Global Positioning Satellite system has improved the accuracy of the rocket to significantly less than 5 meters.

In 2004, ground forces in Iraq saw the need for a highly accurate indirect weapon system that could be used in urban terrain while limiting the collateral damage to surrounding structures. Multinational Corps-Iraq submitted an Urgent Need Statement to the Department of the Army requesting the delivery of GMLRS-U for use in future operations. The Army validated the request in January 2005, and the first deliveries of GMLRS-U began in May 2005. A fielding team was dispatched to Iraq in June 2005 to train deployed units; test firings were conducted in theater later that month. By September, GMLRS-U was being used in support of ground forces during combat operations in Iraq.

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The benefit of GMLRS-U to our forces is readily apparent, and operational commanders have requested additional quantities of the rocket to be procured and deployed to Iraq and other operational theaters. The unmitigated success of GMLRS-U in Iraq resulted in the deployment of additional GMLRS units in March of 2006 to other CENTCOM areas of responsibility. It has become the weapon of choice for commanders requiring indirect support while operating in urban and restrictive terrain.

The GMLRS Unitary Rocket is managed by the Precision Fires Rocket and Missile Systems Project Management Office, Redstone Arsenal, Ala., and produced by Lockheed Martin at Camden, Ark.

Pincoski is currently serving as the product manager for Precision Guided Munitions and Rockets at Redstone Arsenal, Ala.

Lt. Col. Mark Pincoski, USA
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Author:Pincoski, Mark
Publication:Defense AT & L
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jul 1, 2006
Words:463
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