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Effects capability for the Army

Army
Publication date 11.2.2022 15.42
Press release
Kuvassa raskas raketinheitin ampumassa.

The Army´s long-range fires capability will be significantly improved due to the procurement of new GMLRS ER ammunition for heavy rocket launcher.

The Army will be supplied with heavy rocket launcher Extended Range Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System Alternative Warhead (ER GMLRS AW) rockets for effecting area targets, and Extended Range Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System Unitary (ER GMLRS UNITARY) ammunition for point effects precision fire. The procurement will substantially improve heavy rocket launcher system capability and extend its engagement range. The effectiveness of the new ammunition corresponds to that of the GMLRS AW and UNITARY ammunition procured in 2016.

Upon detonation, the area target AW rockets spread fragments above the engaged target, whereas the effect of the point target UNITARY rocket is based on explosions and blast effects. Both ammunition variants cover a range up to c. 150 kilometres. 

Minister of Defence Antti Kaikkonen has approved the proposal for procurement of ammunition for Defence Forces’ heavy rocket launchers from the USA.

The acquisition of the new guided ammunition enables increasingly effective utilisation of the heavy rocket launcher system procured back in 2006, and diversifies the range of ammunition for heavy rocket launchers. The firing control system upgrade of launchers fielded in 2012-2015 allows using guided ammunition.

- This acquisition is part of the plan for ensuring the usability and capability of the heavy rocket launcher system well into the 2050s. The acquisition of new longer-range ammunition will strengthen the Army capability for broad-spectrum and long-range fires, and enhance the use of the heavy rocket launcher system. By the same token, the range of launcher ammunition becomes diversified, Artillery Inspector Colonel Pertti Holma from the Army Command says. 

The total value of the procurement is appr. EUR 70 million, and its funding is part of the Finnish Defence Forces’ framework. The industrial manufacturer of the ammunition in the USA is Lockheed Martin. The procurement deliveries are estimated to start in 2025.

The Ministry of Defence issued a release on the procurement decision on 11.2.2022, and on the procurement preparation

Army release on procurement preparation (in Finnish). 

ER GMLRS (Extended Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System) rocket is launched by heavy rocket launcher

  • The ammunition is packaged in a launch pod standardised for heavy rocket launcher utilisation
  • A heavy rocket launcher can be loaded with two launch pods
  • Each launch pod carries six rockets
  • The GMLRS ammunition and heavy rocket launcher system are manufactured by Lockheed Martin, USA

ER GMLRS AW (Extended Range Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System Alternative Warhead) rocket

  • Area effects
  • AW payload pre-fragmented (Tungsten fragments)
  • Engages soft and semi-hard targets
  • Range 150 km
  • GPS/Inertia assisted steering

ER GMLRS UNITARY (Extended Range Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System Unitary) rocket

  • Point effects precision fire
  • Explosions and blast effect
  • Engages soft and semi-hard targets
  • Range 150 km
  • GPS/Inertia assisted steering

For more information on the Heavy Rocket Launcher (MLRS).