Lockheed Gets $16.6M to Convert MLRS Rockets, Asked to Speed Up GMLRS Production
During Desert Storm in 1991, MLRS rocket launchers earned the nickname “steel rain” for their M26 DPICM warhead’s ability to cover a 200m wide area with small grenades. The same system developed to break Soviet-bloc armies worked exceedingly well against Iraq’s troops and Republican Guard. Fast forward now to a different kind of war, where “steel rain” isn’t a useful solution for fighting in crowded neighborhoods. On the other hand, a highly accurate rocket that can be fired by ground forces 35 miles away and arrive on target, in under a minute, under any conditions, with a 200 pound warhead that will take out a fortified house… is extremely useful. Enter the M30 GMRLS.
Col. H. R. McMaster, Commander of 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment and Operation Restoring Rights’ senior U.S. officer, discusses the weapon’s usefulness in the successful campaign around Tal Afar, Iraq:
“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. The physical and psychological effect the system had on the enemy in Tal Afar – who was trying either to successfully defend against an attack or goad the Coalition into destroying large portions of the city – was extremely valuable.”
Lt. Col. A. J. Legg, Commander of 2nd Battalion, 4th Field Artillery Regiment:
“When the GMLRS was used in Tal Afar, damage to surrounding buildings was almost nonexistent, and the target’s destruction was absolute.”
Lockheed Martin originally received a $108 million contract to conduct Low-Rate Initial Production-2 (LRIP-2) for M30 GMLRS rockets in April 2004. In January of 2005, Lockheed Martin completed delivery of GMLRS Unitary rockets to satisfy the first Army request to convert Guided MLRS rockets to Unitary warhead variants.
As an additional step to get the new equipment in theater quickly, Lockheed Martin Corp. in Grand Prairie, TX recently received a $16.6 million modification to a firm-fixed-price contract for guided multiple launch rocket system full rate production I – conversion of dual-purpose improved conventional munition (DPICM) to urgent material release unitary rockets. Work will be performed in East Camden, AR (80%), and Grand Prairie, TX (20%), and is expected to be complete by Nov. 30, 2008. This was a sole source contract initiated on April 25, 2006 by the Army Aviation and Missile Command in Redstone Arsenal, AL (W31P4Q-06-C-0002).
To respond to the Army’s latest request for additional production, existing contracts for GMLRS production will also be modified to include delivery of GMLRS Unitary rockets scheduled for the fourth quarter of 2006. A second set of GMLRS Unitary are scheduled for the fourth quarter of 2007. See Lockheed release.