The High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) is a highly mobile artillery rocket system that offers MLRS firepower on a wheeled vehicle, making it an ideal system for the medium-weight brigades under the new Army Vision. The HIMARS launcher, a wheeled vehicle, is lighter in weight compared to the MLRS M-270 launcher. It weighs approximately 15 tons, compared to 27 tons for the M-270.
The HIMARS provides a lightweight, C–130 transportable version of the M–270 multiple launch rocket system (MLRS) launcher. Mounted on a 5–ton family of medium tactical vehicles (FMTV) truck chassis, it will fire any rocket or missile in the MLRS family of munitions [MFOM]. The HIMARS fires either six MLRS rockets or one Army Tactical Missile. The HIMARS launchers have some commonality with its older and heavier tracked cousins, the M270 and M270A1 launcher systems. The HIMARS design concept includes the familiar launcher module, fire control, and digital command and control systems, and a self-reload capability. The HIMARS uses the same command, control, and communications, as well as the same crew, as the MLRS launcher but carries only one rocket or missile pod. It can roll on and off a C–130 transport aircraft and, when carried with a combat load, is ready to operate within 15 minutes of landing. Because of the lighter weight of using one pod rather than two, it has a faster time, compared to the M270, from the point the fire mission is received to the actual munition firing.
HIMARS is based on the need for a lighter weight, more deployable MLRS that can be sent anywhere in the world to provide the maneuver commander lethal, long range fires at the very beginning of a conflict. HIMARS was designed and produced by the Army to support its Early Entry Contingency forces and its Light/Airborne/Air Assault Divisions with long-range, general support rocket and missile indirect fires. HIMARS battalion, (3×6) is organic to FA brigades in support of light, airborne, and air assault Divisions. HIMARS is fully interoperable with and use the same existing command and control support systems as the M270 and the M27OAl launcher. HIMARS utilizes the standard Army Logistical Support System. The purpose of HIMARS is to engage and defeat tube and rocket artillery, air defense concentrations, trucks, light armor and personnel carriers. It also supports troop and supply concentrations. Deployment of HIMARS makes it very difficult for an enemy force to launch a counter attack. HIMARS is able to launch its weapons and move away from the area at high speed before enemy forces are able to locate the launch site.
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