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M270A1 Multiple Launch Rocket System


The M270A1 Multiple Launch Rocket System, a derivative of the Bradley Fighting Vehicle, is the standard U.S. Army platform for firing surface to surface artillery rockets and missiles. It is a full-tracked, self-propelled launcher/loader designed to launch tactical rockets and re-deploy before enemy determination of launch position (shoot and scoot). The launch platform is also capable to launch the Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS). The MLRS is comprised of the M269 Loader Launcher Module, the M993 chassis, and the Fire Control System (FCS).

M270A1 Multiple Launch Rocket System Copyright © Spc. Ashley Marble, U.S. Army

Status

In active service

Contractors

System manufactured by: Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control
Chassis manufactured by: FMC FMC created United Defense, which was acquired by BAE Systems on March 7, 2005

M270A1 upgrades

The M270A1 program includes several major upgrades to the M270 launcher:
  • Improved Fire Control System (IFCS): replaced obsolete, maintenance-intensive hardware and software, providing growth potential for future munitions and the potential for reduced launcher operation and support costs. A Global Positioning System-aided navigation system for the launcher was developed as part of IFCS to supplement the existing inertial position-navigation system. The IFCS modification upgrades the electronic and navigation equipment, revises the software architecture, and adds the capability of sensing local meteorological conditions at 100 meters above ground level. This latter capability improved rocket accuracy by providing current, low-level wind measurements to the launcher just before launch.
  • Improved Launcher Mechanical System (ILMS): decreased the time required to aim and load the launcher. This is achieved by providing a faster launcher drive system that moves simultaneously in azimuth and elevation. ILMS reduced the traverse time from the stowed position to worst case aimpoint by approximately 80 percent. It also decreased the mechanical system contribution to reload time by about 40 percent. The reduction in time spent at the launch and reload points is intended to increase survivability.
  • Extended Range Rocket: extended the range of the basic rocket from 31.8 kilometers to a range of approximately 45+ kilometers.
  • Remanufacture of selected components and the application of selected Engineering Change Proposals to the basic M270 launcher to bring all launchers to the same configuration.
  • Improved “Windows-based operating system”, which replaced the FCP (Fire Control Panel).
  • Improved mechanical system and improved position navigation: combined with the improvements in the Fire Control System and advanced mission software, the time it takes to aim the launcher at the furthest aim point is reduced from 93 to 16 seconds. This reduces time at the launch site by 60%, an important factor in MLRS vulnerability. Due to the changes, which were made in the system hydraulics, the launcher reload times have been reduced by 38%.

Crew

1 Driver
1 Gunner
1 Section Chief

Weapon systems

M269 Loader Launcher Module (12 rockets or 2 ATACMS Missiles)
» 227mm Rocket
» MGM-140 Army Tactical Missile System (US Army only)

Characteristics

Dimensions
Length: 6.97 meters 22.88 feet
Width: 2.97 meters 9.75 feet
Height with launcher stowed: 2.59 meters 8.5 feet
Height with launcher elevated: 5.92 meters 19.42 feet
Maximum trench crossing: 2.32 meters 7.6 feet
Ground clearance: 43.2 centimeters 17 inches
Vertical obstacle: 76.2 centimeters 2.5 feet
Weight
Combat weight: ~24 036 kilograms 52 990 pounds
Features
Power plant: one Cummins VTA-903T; 8 cylinder, 4 cycle, turbosupercharged diesel engine
Performance: 500 horsepower (at 2 600 rpm)
Fuel capacity: ~617 liters 163 gallons
Maximum speed: ~64 kilometers per hour 40 miles per hour
Cruise range: ~483 kilometers 300 miles
Fording depth: 1.2 meters 3.33 feet
Miscellaneous
Full salvo duration: less than 40 seconds

Timeline

1983 - Initial operational capability
September 2000 - First M270A1 unit deployed