Last week, during a special ceremony, representatives of the American company Lockheed Martin handed over to the Pentagon the first universal launcher of the MLRS multiple launch rocket system, upgraded to the M270A2 version.
In fiscal year 2017, the US Army commissioned this company to upgrade 160 obsolete, unserviceable M270A0 units to the M270A2 version as part of a project called MLRS Fleet Expansion. In addition, the Pentagon also decided to extend the life of 225 existing M270A1 installations by also upgrading them to the MLRS M270A2 configuration. Thus, the ultimate goal is to supply the US Army with 385 MLRS M270A2 installations with improved armored cabs (IAC), unified Bradley improvements and a common fire control system (CFCS), technical expert Dmitry Shulgin reports in his blog.
The new version of the MLRS M270A2 is an upgraded M270 system, first introduced during Operation Desert Storm (Gulf War in 1990). The new version of the M270A2 is capable of launching:
Option 1 - 12 GMLRS ground-to-surface guided high-precision missiles or extended-range GMLRS missiles;
2nd option - 4 high-precision PrSM (Precision Strike Missile) missiles with increased range (up to 500 km in the original version, up to 1000 km in subsequent modifications);
3rd option - 2 army tactical missiles ATACMS ground-to-ground class.
The overall layout of the M270A2 installation seems very similar to the original M270 - it is based on the same tracked chassis. The cockpit of the A2 version is slightly taller, with reinforced armor to increase protection against small arms fire and IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices).
The MLRS M270A2 is equipped with a new 600 hp engine and a new upgraded transmission.
The M270A2 is equipped with a new launch module and can fire ER GMLRS (Extended Range GMLRS) missiles: The ER GMLRS provides an extended range of up to 150 kilometers (in all weather conditions). The ER GMLRS has much in common with the legacy MLRS missiles and can be deployed on both the light wheeled M142 HIMARS and the heavy tracked M270. ER GMLRS missiles are equipped with a more powerful engine and have increased maneuverability.
Recall that NATO handed over several obsolete M270 installations to the Ukrainian army.