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).
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%.