Tests of unmanned HIMARS system to begin soon

By Defence Industry Europe staff

The US Army has reported on the progress of the program to produce an unmanned variant of the GMLRS/ATACMS M142 HIMARS launcher.

Engineers from the US Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Aviation & Missile Center (DEVCOM AvMC) and the Ground Vehicle Systems Center Command Aviation & Missile are involved in the work. They are working on a modified M142 launcher, and the basic task carried out as part of that modification is to implement the equipment necessary for autonomous mobility or remote control of HIMARS.

The Autonomous Multi-Domain Launcher (AML) is to have significantly better capabilities than civilian vehicles being developed in parallel. For example, it must not be dependent on the existing roads, which requires not only greater mobility in difficult terrain (a feature of all classical M142s), but also sufficient situational awareness to find its bearings and avoid accidents or other damage.

While the test vehicles will differ only slightly from the M142, the target AMLs are expected to have no crew cab and to be equipped with a new high-firepower launcher (the US Army’s announcement indicates that the eventual unmanned launcher will carry three modules holding six GMLRS missiles each or three modules holding two PrSM missiles each).

The possibility of increasing the firepower of the AML launcher is currently the subject of numerous studies. Once these are completed, it will be possible to start building more test vehicles and use them during the next test program.

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