The high-mobility artillery rocket system (HIMARS) is the newest member of the multiple-launch rocket system (MLRS) family. HIMARS is a highly-mobile artillery rocket system offering the firepower of MLRS on a wheeled chassis. HIMARS was developed by Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control under an advanced concept technology demonstration (ACTD) programme, placed in 1996.
The purpose of HIMARS is to engage and defeat artillery, air defence concentrations, trucks, light armour and personnel carriers, as well as support troop and supply concentrations. HIMARS launches its weapons and moves away from the area at high speed before enemy forces locate the launch site.
HIMARS orders and deliveries
In January 2000, Lockheed Martin was awarded an EMD (engineering and manufacturing development) contract to provide six HIMARS launchers. A further two HIMARS launchers were ordered under a two-year user evaluation programme for the US Marines Corps.
In March 2003, the US Army and Marine Corps signed a contract for the low-rate initial production (LRIP) of 89 launchers for the Army and four for the USMC. A second LRIP contract was awarded in January 2004 for 25 launchers for the army and one for the USMC. A third was awarded in January 2005 for 37 launchers for the army and one for the USMC. A total procurement of 900 launchers is planned.
In November 2004, HIMARS successfully completed initial operational test & evaluation (IOT&E). Three prototype HIMARS launchers were successfully used in combat during Operation Iraqi Freedom.