WASHINGTON — Lockheed Martin scored a $1.1 billion contract from the U.S. Army to build another 11,000 Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System rockets, the company announced March 30.
The award came on the heels of another successful test of an extended-range version in development. The ER-GMLRS traveled more than 135 kilometers in the test at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, according to a company news release last week.
The company will supply more than 9,000 GMLRS Unitary and Alternative-Warhead rockets as well as 2,000 Low-Cost Reduced-Range Practice Rockets. It will also provide logistics support to the U.S. Army, U.S. Marine Corps and international customers. The Alternative-Warhead version was developed to hit targets without the risk of leaving unexploded ordnance in the area.
GMLRS production will take place in Camden, Arkansas; Dallas and Lufkin, Texas; and Ocala, Florida, and will be finished by September 2023, according to the company.
Lockheed has already delivered 50,000 GMLRS rockets to the Army.
The ER-GMLRS in development is expected to reach targets at ranges of 150 kilometers with the same accuracy as the current GMLRS rockets, according to Lockheed. In the 135-kilometer test on March 25, the rocket was fired from a Lockheed-manufactured High Mobility Artillery Rocket System and “met test objectives.”
The event followed a March 4 test, during which the ER-GMLRS rocket reached an 80-kilometer range.
The first flight test for the extended-range rocket took place in November 2020, but the round experienced an anomaly after launch. Following an investigation it was determined the cause was due to a technical issue with a fin, which was resolved through “minor enhancements.”
The Army has now completed three of the four planned engineering development test flights. Following these tests, the Army will conduct system qualification test flights and operational test flights.
Lockheed anticipates cutting the extended-range version into its production line in the fiscal 2023 contract award and is planning to produce the new extended-range rockets at its Camden facility.
Jen Judson is the land warfare reporter for Defense News. She has covered defense in the Washington area for 10 years. She was previously a reporter at Politico and Inside Defense. She won the National Press Club's best analytical reporting award in 2014 and was named the Defense Media Awards' best young defense journalist in 2018.